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Encouraging boys to write........HOW!!!!!!!

(20 Posts)
clutteredup Mon 08-Sep-08 11:48:08

MY 7 yo is quite bright and has done very well in his KS1 SATs apart from his writing which is considerably below the level of his other subjects. The main reason is that he dislikes it with a vengeance - it's too much like hard work. Now he is in Yr 3 of course most of what they do needs to be written, he was never that enthusiastic about school before and now he really doesn't like it at all. He attends merely as he knows by law he has to.
I know this is common for boys but I was wondering if anyone has found a way to deal with it. As I said he's really quite bright but he is going to 'underachieve' for want of a better word .

NotQuiteCockney Mon 08-Sep-08 11:50:38

I've had some success with writing notes to my DS1 (nearly 7, just in Yr 2). Before I go to bed I'll write a few paragraphs about what I enjoyed that day, or whatever, and leave him a pen to write me an answer.

clutteredup Mon 08-Sep-08 11:52:23

That's a nice idea NQC - he really hates writing though so I'm not sure something as simple as that would work - I'm happy to try anything though grin

clutteredup Mon 08-Sep-08 12:01:22

Anyone else? All ideas are very welcome.

Boyswillbeboys Mon 08-Sep-08 12:07:39

I like Notquitecockney's idea - I gave DS1 a "holiday diary" this summer as he has real trouble sitting still and concentrating on writing, hates it. We managed to get a couple of sentences a day which was not too painful for him and although I would've liked more I was happy that he wrote anything at all!

Threadwworm Mon 08-Sep-08 12:11:08

Could you get him to write lists of things that he wants -- ideas for what to have for pudding, or for activities at the weekend. Maybe even an early Christmas list?

Tell him it will help you plan to do/eat/etc things that he enjoys, and that unless he writes them down you might forget.

Then make a point of trying to fall in with the wishlist.

Notquitegrownup Mon 08-Sep-08 12:16:46

It's hard to make writing fun, isn't it? Little and often is the way to go, I think, so get as many ideas as you can.

Lists aren't too daunting, so perhaps you could manufacture reasons to get him to do lists for you. Packing to go on hols, Christmas pressies, things he would like from Tesco when you go . . .

A penpal might be a possibility, if he likes getting post.

Wordprocessing can mean that he gets good results and tends to appeal to boys more, so thank you letters done via the computer are good (you can do a template for him. Dear (blank), Thank you very much for my (blank). It is (blank). That way he gets to type three words and to produce a whole letter. (Type in the address first, and set the font to 16 point, and a bright colour, so that it fills up more space)

HTH. Hopefully others can think of more ideas too.

scaryteacher Mon 08-Sep-08 12:50:31

DS 12 writes fanfic about Star Wars/Dr Who, and is really into that. I think that you have to separate the actual physical mechanics of writing from the creative side. Which one is the problem?

DS hates having to sit there with a pen and write, but on holiday, he had a series of A4 exercise books and a pencil and happily scribbled away at a story. He prefers to word process as it is faster, and hates having to handwrite. He is becoming more adjusted to the fact he has to do this, especially for GCSEs, but it took time to get to this point.

Did you get any feedback on why his writing scored lower? Is it legibility - this will be a problem later if not tackled (I speak as a GCSE examiner who struggles with some candidates answers/scrawls). If it the creative side, then get him to read an opening chapter of a favourite book or new one in a series of books and ask to him to write a story on what happens next.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 08-Sep-08 12:52:44

Oh, yes, lists work, we do that a bit too.

I use the letters to try to reinforce positive behaviour and work on all the parenting stuff I'm struggling with - he doesn't entirely hear praise, iyswim, so it needs repeating. And I think that seeing it written down helps.

Buda Mon 08-Sep-08 13:11:35

Did he crawl as a baby? My DS has dreadful writing and is also 7. He cannot grip a pencil properly so the handwriting practice was not helping at all. He is now working with an Occupational Therapist at school and she says that 90% of the boys she sees is because of writing and with most of them it is issues with fine motor control and co-ordination. She reckons that my DS moves frm the shoulders when writing so he finds it tiring.

Another teacher asked did he crawl and apparently for babies who don't crawl there are some connections in the brain that don't get sorted and that leads to problems later. She did re-iterate that there is nothing you can do as a parent to have a child that crawls rather than a bum shuffler!

littlestrawberry Mon 08-Sep-08 13:22:44

I did the same as boyswillbeboys with DS1 actually. Through the hols, when we had done something nice he would draw a picture and write a couple of sentences about it. DS1's problem is really big letters and really wonky lines and he came on quite well I think.

emiliadaniel Mon 08-Sep-08 14:29:18

I get my DS to write about things that interest him. At the moment, that is gardening so he is keeping a diary of what we plant etc and taking photos to stick in.
He also really enjoys writing messages to me on his mini white board.

clutteredup Mon 08-Sep-08 19:14:24

Thank you everyone there are some really good ideas here and its nice to know that for some of you its working. I especially like the lists - he know what he wants!!
Its his physical writing not creativity that's the problem, I think that's what frustrated his teacher last year, he has a great vocabulary and ideas for stories but struggles to get it down in writing. He is quite lazy so he gives up soon and has started a fantastic story which ends very quickly i.e. after about five sentences. His fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination are really quite good so it makes me think its effortthats the problem.......its a bit of a family failing ..
but we'll keep trying smile

Boyswillbeboys Tue 09-Sep-08 10:34:53

Buda, that is really interesting - my DS was a bum shuffler, never crawled at all! I'd never heard of any link between the two before.

Buda Tue 09-Sep-08 14:13:05

I hadn't either BWBB!

essexgel Tue 09-Sep-08 14:35:20

We were lucky enough to receive PDA's for our ds yr 4 and he was asked to write a holiday diary which he did without little input from me - would have been v. different had it been pen to paper

essexgel Tue 09-Sep-08 14:38:03

also he didn't crawl 'til he was 11 months which I liked..perhaps I should have encouraged him to move around??Is it my fault???!!!

mellyonion Tue 09-Sep-08 14:40:29

how about a joke book??

my ds is the same.he's the same age too..his writing is terrible...he's really bright in every way...

i take comfort from the "doctors have terrible handwriting" myth/fact!, lol. grin

mellyonion Tue 09-Sep-08 14:40:56 ds did crawl.....sorry!!

Buda Tue 09-Sep-08 14:53:40

essexgel - no it's not your fault - nothing you could have done.

DS got 2 teeth by 16 weeks and I remember phoning my mum to tell her (as you do with PFBs!) and joking that he wuld probably do everything else late. He did! He didn't sit till 8 months, crawled at 11 (commando style and then decided bum shuffling was better) and walked at 15 months. He seems to have some small issues with fine motor skills and co-ordination and whether it is all connected or not I don't know. He is pretty good at football and tennis. The OT wants me t buy a skipping rope and get him to do 5 mins a day as she says this is really good.

Poor hand-writing is very common in boys and can be a result of por fine motor skills but there are lots of interesting ways to improve fine motor skills and therefore handwriting without the torture of sitting your DS down to write every day. If you search on MN for threads about fine motor skills you will find loads of ideas. Play dough is good as is Lego. Jigsaws. Squeezing a little soft ball in the hand. Etc.

I think i remember hearing/reading that the tendons in the hand don't fully develop with boys till they are around 6/7 and that obv would affect handwriting.

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