Advanced search

Why is there such a disparity between 7yo DD's reading and writing skills?

(26 Posts)
Sugarbeach Wed 19-Sep-12 14:42:05

Is this normal?

She's reading chapter books (how to train your dragon, Percy Jackson etc.), yet her writing is still in simple sentences.

Could someone share some insight on how primary children's reading and writing develop please?


sixp Wed 19-Sep-12 15:14:41

My ds is the same if that's any help. I think it's pretty normal.

iseenodust Wed 19-Sep-12 15:16:21

No insight but DS's end of yr3 levels reflected such a disparity.

pointythings Wed 19-Sep-12 19:33:20

I think it's quite normal for writing to lag behind reading a little, I'd be worried if it's more than a couple of sub-levels though. The gap should also close as they get older, at 7 writing is still a very advanced skill. Both my DDs really advanced in leaps through Years 3 and 4 and had matching levels by the end of Yr4.

Beanbagz Wed 19-Sep-12 20:48:47

Same here (wtih my DS) and i remember my DD was the same at this age. She's much better now (10).

Sugarbeach Fri 21-Sep-12 14:27:31

Thanks for the responses. She was 3c for reading and writing at eand of year 2, but she somehow got downgraded to 2b at the beginning of this year. hmm it's only been a week, so i'll wait and see if i should be getting concerned. She was doing 'adjectives' writing homework yesterday, and got a bit stuck, so we tried to look through the books she is reading to find examples that illustrate the concept....then I realised that there are very few within the Percy Jackson books she's been reading. Seems that the story is so fast moving that the author seems not to let adjectives get in the way of the pace of the plot. Wimpy Kids is not much better for adjectives either.

Any ideas for well written books that would positively influence her writing?

drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 14:43:40

Interested. My Y1 daughter has the same disparity (obv not at the same level).

I guess it's natural in once sense - one's reading is always likely to be at a higher level than one's writing (throughout life - unless you become a professional writer!). But it is interesting how much it seems to lag. I guess developmentally you literally can't write until you can recognise a letter so it will always come second to visual recognition. And reading is decoding whereas writing is so many other things as well (dexterity, creativity).

Re books, my dd tends not to like overly adjectival writing because she just likes to get on with the story which I think makes sense at this age. She enjoys funny, bouncy sounding things though so perhaps some poems? So she can just enjoy the language as well as the story. Fun ones obviously, not Wordsworth! Or writers like Roald Dahl who enjoy giving their characters crazy names and made up foods and songs etc. Dr Seuss is great for that although for a younger age group. Is there a Dr Seuss for 7 year olds?

Also my DD loves Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Verses (Matilda etc) - weird and wonderful.

mathanxiety Fri 21-Sep-12 18:39:21

Beatrix Potter books are full of unusual and colourful vocabulary:

'He led the way to a rather retired, dismal-looking house among the foxgloves'
'...that foxy-whiskered gentleman'

There are good verbal pictures painted, even without adjectives:

'The gentleman raised his eyes above his newspaper and looked curiously at Jemima'

There are good titles by Antonia Barber

The 'Henry' books by Mary Calhoun are a good read. I couldn't disagree more with the reviewer, who seems to have completely missed the nuances of the language used, and maybe I am thick but I can't see a misspelling. Cross Country Cat is funny and engaging, and High Wire Henry likewise (buy used obv).

The 'Nicholas' series by Goscinny and Sempe -- fab.

But the likes of Percy J and Wimpy Kid are all plot driven. The trick is to combine action and good quality language.

It's also worthwhile finding out how much emphasis is being placed on neatness of handwriting and correct spelling. Both can dampen enthusiasm.

mathanxiety Fri 21-Sep-12 18:40:54

yy to Hilaire Belloc, and Winnie the Pooh too.

monsterchild Fri 21-Sep-12 18:43:35

My Dsd is the opposite! If you ask her to spell words she knows, she can rattle them off. She is determined to get perfect scores on her spelling tests. But when we go back over them, and I ask her to read the word she just spelled, if it has more than 4 letters, or consonants together (like ch) she is totally confused. Even though I JUST said the word and asked her to spell it a few moments ago!

She is just starting Y1, and I can't tell what is going on with her.

pointythings Fri 21-Sep-12 19:08:34

The Hiccup Horrendous Haddock books are very well written and use challenging vocabulary, would thoroughly recommend them as they blend fast exciting plots with some really quite poetic descriptive writing. It's subtly done too, you don't realise how rich it is until you've read a few.

orangeandlemons Fri 21-Sep-12 19:11:17

Sometimes disparity between reading and writing are classic dyslexia signs

aroomofherown Sun 23-Sep-12 18:34:21

Reading is decoding and then comprehending what someone else has created; this is easier than creating your own, so that will usually take a little longer.

Think of learning a language - you start by understanding the language, and then you start to put your own sentences together. Same with writing.

Bonsoir Mon 24-Sep-12 14:53:28

Writing is a much harder skill than reading. Even as adults, we are able to read and comprehend texts of a complexity that we would not be able to write ourselves.

monsterchild Mon 24-Sep-12 15:37:23

So if my Dsd is having trouble reading, not writing, should we be concerned? She's 6. If you ask her to spell "much" she does it fine, if you ask her to read it a few moments later, she's clueless.
Her Dad thinks she's just being silly and that she knows the word, but she really seems to be totally clueless.

However, she does have a history of saying she doesn't know if something is a little bit hard, and that's what makes him think she is a little bit lazy.

aroomofherown Mon 24-Sep-12 18:30:47

monsterchild if things don't improve in a year or two, I'd start to think about getting her tested for language.

In the meantime just keep practicing her reading.

aroomofherown Mon 24-Sep-12 18:31:28

doh practising blush

I blame wine.

mathanxiety Tue 25-Sep-12 16:11:45

Sugarbeach et al - this is an interesting article that may help you pinpoint where exactly your child is having problems. It's a Canadian article; grade 2 would be age 7.


There is a difference between not knowing enough adjectives to complete the task, or being unused to think of language in terms of its constituent parts (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc) because up to now the story, the plot have been the important parts of reading - and having mechanical issues to do with letter recall, fine motor skill deficits, aversion to using fine motor skills, etc.

Identifying adjectives and then constructing sentences that include them is quite a complicated task because up to now the aim of reading has been getting to the point where individual letters disappear and even individual words are pretty much skimmed over. Fluency in reading delivers the reward of finding out what happens in the end and all the excitement in the middle. Taking sentences apart is the language equivalent of explaining how a magic trick works or the elements of a joke. Or a trip to a sausage factory.

If the adjectives are provided in a word bank, then it helps to sort them into positive and negative, scary, related to size, etc., categories. If they are not already provided, then creating a word bank of her own might help - brainstorm adjectives in certain appealing categories and create a few groups from which she could choose some for her sentences.

iseenodust Tue 25-Sep-12 17:14:36

drjohns horton hears a hoo or the sleep book is quite ambitious - dr seuss

lljkk Thu 27-Sep-12 10:11:12

Normal ime. I thought everyone knew it was normal.
2 of mine were very weird for Not having a huge huge discrepancy in this area.

Takver Thu 27-Sep-12 20:22:26

mathanxiety - that's a fantastic article. It describes my dd pretty much entirely. We spent years basically assuming that it was just natural that writing lagged behind reading, especially given that she was an early fluent reader, and being told that the rest 'would come'.

I'm sure it does for some/many children, but not for all. A couple of points particularly stood out:

"a tendency to be extremely slow copying from the board, copying letter by letter, even when they can read the words" - I remember back in yr 2 we found that dd was being kept at copying two or three sentences all day that the other children had done in a morning session. Because she could read fluently, the assumption was that she was being obstinate and just refusing to do the work.

"realizing that it is your responsibility to teach spelling, and that these children do NOT learn simply by being exposed" again because dd could read, she never got any phonics instruction in English.

Eventually when she was in yr 4 and writing not improving at all (and she was being kept in pretty much every playtime to finish work which was still never getting done) we worked through a phonics programme at home, and also did 5 minutes per day handwriting practise & basic letter formation, which helped quite a lot.

I think that you need to keep on the case - I wish we had been much more aware of what was happening early on, basically dd only got help in the end because she has periodic meltdowns at school. The ed. psychologists assessments show her as being in the 99+ percentile for both verbal & non-verbal reasoning, which you undoubtedly wouldn't think was the case if you saw any of her written work from school.

mathanxiety Sat 29-Sep-12 04:02:38

Takver -- I am so sad to hear about your poor DD being punished and kept in.

What on earth are teachers taught in training college?

Sugarbeach Sat 29-Sep-12 06:27:42

Thanks for the articles math anxiety, they are really me lots to reflect on....the bit about perfectionism and left handed ness struck a cord...

pugsandseals Sat 29-Sep-12 08:49:20

Is she creative? At this age, DD struggled so much with thinking & writing that at home we would let her talk at a recording machine then 'copy' it out in a book until her writing dexterity caught up with her mental ability. She too is left handed & was one of the last in her class to promote to fountain pen. Even now she can spend forever staring at the page without much writing going on! (yr6)

pugsandseals Sat 29-Sep-12 08:55:19

Learning an instrument also helps dexterity & uses the same brain to hand skills so might help

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: