Elementary age student writing

A Parent’s Guide:  Improving Written Communication

In recent months, some of Florida’s students have been awarded college scholarships for writing winning essays. Read more to find out what makes a great essay.

These essay contest winners won full scholarship awards for their outstanding writing, but writing well is important for many more reasons.  Effective written communication is a highly sought-after and marketable skill in the job market. Employers consistently say that great communication skills are among the most important outcomes for students in public education. 

So, what was it about the essays that made them winners?

These writers won because they demonstrated command of the English Language Arts Standards for their individual grade levels.

Florida’s English Language Arts Standards build from simple grammar in early grades to persuasive and well-documented communications in later years. If students are successfully meeting Florida Standards, they will continue to grow throughout their time in school. By building on more complicated techniques every year, your child will learn to research, write and communicate ideas, eventually becoming ready for college and career success. Florida Standards are a great way to monitor your child’s progress. Search Florida Standards for your child’s grade level here.

Florida Standards Assessments have a writing component in grades 4-10. Florida Standards Assessments act like a yardstick to measure our students’ progress toward the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college, career and life. The ability to monitor student performance through Florida Standards Assessments allows students, parents and educators to determine areas in need of improvement and seek out solutions to ensure all students are college and career ready by high school graduation.

As a parent, how can you learn to read for those great qualities in your child’s written communications?

Our Parent Guides can help you understand the expectations at every grade level and monitor your child’s performance.

For younger children, reading with your child is a great way to become engaged in their learning. Explore our Elementary School parent guides for more suggestions.

As your children get older, be sure to keep reading materials easily accessible in your home. Creating designated quiet time away from the television or computer screen will encourage students to read, growing their vocabulary and reading comprehension. See more in our Middle School parent guides and High School parent guides.

To become engaged with your child’s learning beyond the classroom, explore PBS Learning Media. The PBS Learning Media site is another great resource that provides student tutorials in all subject areas.

When you are aware of your child’s grade level and classroom learning goals, you can be more effective in working with your child’s teachers and helping your child succeed.

Keep your eye on Florida Students Achieve announcements for the next essay opportunity, and consider Florida Standards for your child’s grade level when helping with those essays.



Florida celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month to honor the contributions of Hispanic and African American leaders who have helped shape the great state of Florida. Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott host an essay contest, which encourages students to explore the Hispanic and African American heroes who have enriched our communities and our state. Hispanic Heritage Month Winners are listed here, Black History Month Winners are listed here.

The student essay contest winners each received a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. For each contest, there was one student selected in the categories of elementary school, middle school and high school. Many of these students were encouraged by their parents, guardians and teachers to enter the contest.