Friday, September 8, 2017

When Your Child Doesn't Want to Write



As mentioned in previous posts, my daughter loves to read and is a story girl. One area of struggle for her, however, is in the area of writing and thought organization. 

Ever since she was little and first learning to write, she has reversed her letters and numbers. There was a time when my husband called her his "little Leonardo da Vinci" because she would write everything in perfect reverse order. You could hold her papers up to the mirror and read them like a secret code. 

Although she has improved greatly in this area over the past few years, she still has to work very hard to communicate in writing. I have been concerned about this as she is now entering third grade and will be required to write more and more in her upper elementary years.       

The Lord recently connected us with a woman who has been a teacher for many years, and who frequently works with children that struggle with reading and writing.  After many conversations with her concerning my girl, I am filled with hope and have a plan to help her not only improve in her writing, but also equip her with tools that will help her become a more confident communicator. 


I have been working to implement many of Mrs. Harris's suggestions, as well as reading and researching more ideas on my own. 


My daughter will completely shut down if she is faced with a page that has a lot of required writing on it. She instantly begins to whine about how "she can't do it, it's too hard, she can't write that much..."  Since she has to think about which direction the letters face and how to write them, writing is harder for her than for some children—as though she has to add an extra step in to the process. However, writing is also a life skill and will be something she has to do for the rest of her life. As her mama, I want to enable her to approach writing positively and confidently. 

If you have a child who struggles with visual perception, easily becomes overwhelmed when much writing/reading is required, or has a hard time putting his thoughts into clear sentences, perhaps some of these ideas will be an encouragement to your student as well. 

Here are three tools that we will be using throughout the year to help in this area:

1.   I love this idea from teach123school.com. If you scroll down the page, you will see a section entitled "Bite Size Pieces" that suggests cutting a file folder into sections that will allow your student to only concentrate on a small section of the work at a time. So often half the battle is in the mind, and this tool immediately helps a child only focus on a small part of the task at a time. 

2.   Little Lady also struggles with spelling words correctly and she will frequently ask me how to spell the words she needs. Although I do not mind being her walking dictionary, I will not always be with her and I want her to become a more independent writer. Mrs. Harris suggested that she start her own personal spelling dictionary where she can put the words that she often uses, but cannot remember how to spell. I found this printable student dictionary that I really like (especially because it has several versions from which to choose). 

3.   As simple as this sounds, another suggestion for struggling writers is to use pencil grippers. Sometimes children who do not write easily become tense and grip their pencil too tightly, which can cause cramping and sore fingers. This makes the writing process all the more miserable for them. There are many different styles of grippers on the market. This may be a small thing, but if it can help even a little bit, I will be thankful!

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