Recently, a friend described her daughter's writing assignment at school. This mom was at a loss for how to help with the research and writing, without taking over the assignment, from the student or the teacher. Luckily, several options are available through Ruidoso Public Library.
If you have time to stop by, we have books (!) not just on content, but on the writing and research process, though these are often grade-level specific, especially for upper grades.
If you, like most parents I meet at the library, are down to the last weekend before you hear there is any paper at all, no fear. While we do close at 4pm on Fridays and 2 pm on Saturdays (and Children's closes 30 minutes earlier), we have several resources available 24/7 via internet and your library card number.
Where to begin? Research, as I am learning at school myself, is a conversation. As students, we are late to the party and have to catch up by reading. After some general reading, pick a few topics of interest and look for them. Remember to try synonyms to find more references. After more reading, begin to think about what you have read. Most important of all, ask questions about who wrote the information (and whose voice is not yet heard), question whether that information fits with what you know, and then look for information to answer your questions.
Depending on the teacher and assignment, writing about the whole process (and what you learned to try instead next time) is a great step in learning. Even if it is the last weekend, there is time to look, read, rest and think, and repeat on Saturday and Sunday.
You are not alone, either. If the links below fail, find the Magazines or Opposing Viewpoints links from the homepage's e-branch tab (and Children's page, too!). Inside Junior Edition, Kids Edition, Student Edition, or Kids Infobits (depending on your student's age/level), look for Teacher Toolbox. Luckily, they all have the same feature. The Toolbox page offers several lessons and links to handouts you may print out. For example:
How to Make a Concept Web
How to Write a Topic Sentence
Make an Outline
Cite a Source
Build an Argument
Write a Conclusion
How to Judge Information (encyclopedia v. magazine v. web)
If in Opposing Viewpoints, find Resources, in the black bar. Scroll to the bottom for Students: Tools for Getting Started and Wrapping Up.