11th grade English Language Arts tips: Here's how to help your student

Here's how you can help your 11th-grader with English Language Arts outside of the classroom.
A student reads a book on a bench.

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By Aisha Labi

Hoping to help your 11th-grader with English Language Arts skills? Here are some basic tips that experts suggest.

Make time for reading

As your child’s academic and extracurricular schedule becomes busier than it has ever been, it’s important to help them continue to make time for some basics. Make sure that they are staying on top of assigned reading, but also that they have enough down time for leisure reading.

Encourage a range of reading

Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials, from novels to biographies to informational texts and scientific material. When possible, try to engage them in discussion about the themes and ideas of what they are reading. Some of the texts they are reading may be of interest to you, and discussing them could offer a valuable starting point for meaningful conversations.

Ask about reading

One focus of your child’s classroom reading is determining what a text is saying explicitly and what it leaves unsaid. You can help prompt them to think critically in this way by asking probing questions about what they have read and what they have learned from it.

Make time for family discussion

Make sure you continue to make time for family conversation and discussion. Sit down to meals together as a family and engage your child in discussion about what is going on in their life, both personally and academically.

Share your struggles

Reading classic literature, such as Shakespeare, can be intimidating. As your child reads books you read when you were their age, tell them about your struggles and success with the same texts. Just knowing that you also went through a similar experience could provide some needed encouragement for them.

Ask your child's opinion

Include your child in conversations about news developments and world events, as well as family matters. Ask for their opinion on important topics and listen carefully to their responses. Ask them to back up their opinions and statements with evidence.

Discuss career possibilities

As your child starts to think about future study concentrations and career possibilities, use your discussion of the subjects that interest them to steer those conversations. Help them start thinking about the expertise that different careers require. What do lawyers need to study? What about doctors or engineers?

Include writing in family traditions

Help your child be a part of your family holiday traditions and include writing at the same time. Have him interview elderly family members or friends about their traditions in celebrating the holidays. They can then turn the information from these interviews into several kinds of writing, from photos with captions to illustrated stories to poems. These writings could turn into a special and much-valued gift to the family member or friend.

To find out what your 11th-grader will be learning in English Language Arts class, check out our 11th grade English Language Arts skills page.

Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Joyce Epstein, Director, Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University; Pamela Mason, Program Director/Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Barbara Stripling, Senior Associate Dean, Syracuse University; and Cathy Fleischer, English Professor, Eastern Michigan University, and align with the Common Core State Standards.