Inspiring DS age 9 to read books and also write creatively??(17 Posts)
My DS age 9 (year 5) is not keen on reading. He says he has no ideas when he has to do a piece of creative writing and his vocabulary not great. His spelling is good and his comprehension techniques are good if he knows the vocabulary.
He loves to read the Beano but not much else.
Do you have any tips on how I can help. The thought of 11+ in a years time terrifies me. His maths good but English worries me.
Thanks v much. 😊
Read to him!
In order to be able to write well, he needs to develop his vocabulary and understand how good stories are structured.
Would he listen to talking books in bed or in the car?
Try and steer him away from the awful Wimpy Kid/Tom Gates crap!!
It sounds weird, but audiobooks might help. DS1 was quite reluctant to read himself at about 8-9, mostly because he found the kinds of books he was interested in hard going. He loved listening to them as audiobooks instead. It helped to give him a love of stories and improve his vocabulary. Once his reading ability caught up with his aspirations, he took to reading books instead/as well as listening to audiobooks. He reads quite voraciously now (at 15).
I could never get him to enjoy writing (he has issues around visual processing, motor planning and hypotonia though, so writing is very much an uphill battle).
DS2 is a little bookworm (at 6) but he finds reading much easier than DS1 did. He still enjoys audiobooks as well as reading. In fact, he picks up expression tips from the audiobooks and puts them into practice when he reads to me.
DS2 loves Tom gates and diary of a wimpy kid! He likes all the pictures and finds them hilarious. I'd suggest they'd be great choices for a more reluctant reader.
There's nothing wrong with reading comics either. It's still reading. Phoenix comics are also good for kids. DS2 loves bunny vs monkey.
DS2 also really enjoys the how to train your dragon series, which fits the funny with lots of pictures.
My DS (9) was the same but he got really into the Wimpy Kid books last year as they were a bit of a craze in his class at the time. Although they aren't exactly great literature they are fun and after those he got into the How to Train Your Dragon series and also Football Academy.
He loves comics too, mainly football ones. I think the key is to try and find something they like and try to introduce some form of reading into it. I don't think there's anything wrong with comics as a way in.
My DS's teacher told me not to worry as they do loads of reading in school and sometimes kids are sick of books by the time they go home lol!
Would second the idea of graphic novels - they seem to be a bit of a craze at the moment, and there are plenty of them to choose from.
Also maybe try fact books on a topic he is interested in. Some children prefer to read non fiction, and the vocabulary can be just as good.
You can get graphic novel editions of lots of books now. There are, for example, graphic novel versions of the Artemis fowl series, books by Rick Riorden (The Percy Jackson series and others), Anthony Horowitz (the Alex Rider and the Power of Five series), Northern Lights, some books by Neil Gaiman, and loads more.
So you can totally develop an interest in comics into longer reads.
I am a teacher and if you want a child to write creatively then they need to be exposed to as many types of stories and their structures as possible. For example, if a child has never read any scary stories and then they're asked in class to write a scary story, then it won't be at all surprising when they struggle.
Talking is the best way to learn story and sentence structure too; children need to hear the word patterns and how sentences are crafted together in order to use them, so the best thing to do is to read aloud to him and get him to make up a story by talking to you.
You could start by getting him to recount a story, then after that he could modify a few details i.e. the three dinosaurs instead of the three bears, and from there gradually keep modifying details until his story is completely original. We call that scaffolding and it's very effective.
Another great thing to use is a stimulus. Something fun and exciting and which will get the ideas flowing. I recently used this short video www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEjUAnPc2VA
and had the children design their own spy gadet for an instruction text. They had to draw a detailed diagram and label it with detailed instructions using fronted adverbials and adjectives and they absolutely loved it.
our school do some writing thing where they seem to spend a lot of time retelling stories they have been told/read and then changing different details within the stories and making them there own, gradually changing more and more things, using beginnings, endings, phrases etc that they have got from other stories and learning how to build them up for themselves. much less daunting than "write a story".
they need exposure to a huge number of different stories, styles, poems, plays etc in order to learn the vocabulary and ideas.
Two things that in combination work wonderfully:
- Get rid of the Xbox (or anything that has a screen)
- leave age appropriate books laying around. No pressure, if they are bored they will find them (that's how I managed to read most of Shakespeare works before I was 14, and obviously my dad hated the Atari
unless he was using it himself.)
My daughter got this for Christmas - Usborne Write Your Own Storybook - Book People link - its fab, I'd really recommend it!
He could try the 500 Words competition. He's unlikely to get anywhere but it might focus his mind. www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00rfvk1
Take him to the library or a book shop so he can find books that interest him?
This is very good site for practice creative writing.
orangeplum your DS sounds exactly like my DS2. Good at Maths but really disinterested in English and reeeeally not bothered about reading!
I always read to him at bedtime and insist that he reads his Home Reader from school but that's usually a battle!
The main reason I don't worry too much is that DS1 was exactly the same at his age (9) but probably at 13ish went through a period of reading voraciously - Tolkien, The Road, Life of Pi, Schindlers List.
He's now 18 and doesn't have time to read fiction but I think that all the input (and hands wringing!) from me did pay off.
My DS1 is exactly the same. We read to him every night and I make sure the books are at or slightly more challenging than his reading. It's a great way to improve his vocabulary as, if he's reading independently he's likely to skip words he doesn't know rather than ask.
When he reads himself he tends to read books slightly below his ability, which I'm fine with because at least he's reading something.
We also get First News every week which sometimes he reads, sometimes he doesn't.
I agree with audiobooks. DD loves to read, likes books like Secret Garden or Anne of Green Gables but can't handle the sheer volume of text, esp. as it is quite old fashion. But hearing the audiobooks gives her lots of interesting vocabulary.
We look that she reads "decent" books which bring her forward, expend her horizon and cover various topics and style of writing.
But, she also can take whatever "trash" she likes as even adults do not read valuable books all the time.
Also, do you read? Do you still read to him? I found both extremely useful and DD's teacher (Y4) who is also the head of English, said recently she can't stress enough that parents should continue reading to a child, that is more valuable then anything if a child has no real gaps. We read books with her, two-three pages we, one page her, each night. Books she normally can't do on her own or where the topic is a bit heavy and she needs us to talk about it.
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