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How to help an 8 yr old boy enjoy writing

(10 Posts)
pinkhebe Fri 22-Jul-11 06:54:22

We're having a few problems with my 8yr old (end of yr 3) ds2 and his writing.
Generally over the year his reading has improved, but his writing has stayed at the same level as his ks1 sats.

He has been on the additional literacy support scheme, but getting him to write more than a few sentances (with pretty poor spelling) is like getting blood out of a stone.

I need a few ideas for helping him over the holidays so he doesn't fall behind. I'm not intending to do a huge amount of work over the holidays, about 10/20 minutes a day. But I know there will be tantrums and shouting from me so I want to make it as fun as possible.

So far I've come up with a nice notebook so he can write a little diary of what he's been doing and getting him to write postcards to grandparents etc.

His sats have improved from
maths 2a - 3b
reading 2a - 3a
writing 2b - 2b

mrz Fri 22-Jul-11 09:01:51

www.everybodywrites.org.uk/writing-games/details/sentence-games/
www.ks2phonics.org.uk/SentenceLab.html the idea is the computer generates 1,2 or 3 words which the child has to include in a sentence before the time runs out.
www.everybodywrites.org.uk/writing-games/details/creative-games-from-stories/

fastweb Fri 22-Jul-11 09:44:31

I had the same problem.

So I sub divided the work.

I used copy work (just small blocks, building up size verrrrrrrrrry slowly) to give him a chance to improve his handwriting and draw his attention to spelling and punctuation.

Again for spelling and punctuation, variations on dictation. But made more fun, like a running dictation, or a whispers dictation. Again kept short and sweet to not go beyond his tolerance before he was ready.

For production work, where the ideas and expression came from him, I switched to the computer. He likes the support of the continuous spellchecker, it improved his grasp on some of the "rules" and a good number of the sight words very quickly and I've noticed that where he sees a red underline he is inclined to try and rewrite the word off his own bat, and take a minute to think about it, before asking the 'puter to provide the correction. He hates the mechanics of hand writing, but no so much the mechanics of typing, so using a WP package leads to one "block point" being eliminated. The other aspect that mattered so much to him was editing on the screen did not result in messy work.

Particularly because of the latter issue, when he gets his ipad for his birthday i am also getting an app which allows him to hand write with a stylus, which will replicate his handwriting (there is also a handwriting to type app I'll be getting) but allow him to edit his work as though it were type, leading to a nice "finish" to his work.

All the above is not a miracle cure, we still have some feet dragging and occasionally the mother of all whinges...but it is a lot better, both in terms of his skills and my poor head.

You'll find other useful bits, bobs and ideas on the Free Technology for Teachers blog.

Elsjas Fri 22-Jul-11 10:44:41

My son is a bit younger but I had the same problem getting him interested in writing. However, he is fanatically interested in football so I started by getting him to write down the names of his favourite players in his "best handwriting", then all the players in his favourite team, then football scores, then little descriptions of clips of matches that he could find on the internet, then made up match reports, then little stories about a boy who likes football etc. I wouldn't say that he is now super-keen on writing, but at least he will sit down and give it a go without too much fuss!
Perhaps there is something that your ds is keen on too that you could use as a topic to build up his writing?

Chandon Fri 22-Jul-11 11:48:07

my 8 yr old has almost the same grades!

We are doing 15 minutes of "homework" a day during the hols, with a Pokemon Card reward chart, which keeps him interested.

we usually get it over and done with in the morning. Like elsjas says, I ask him to write about Pokemon or Lego or Kickboxing grin

Chandon Fri 22-Jul-11 11:49:26

I also bought him a white wipe-board with marker pens so he can wipe mistakes easily, so it's not as frustrating as paper IYSWIM

pinkhebe Fri 22-Jul-11 13:33:57

There are some great ideas and websites, thanks, I'll have a good think about it later,

skybluepearl Sat 23-Jul-11 20:14:35

I'd concentrate on reading more - say 45 mins at bed time. Reading lots should pull up his writing ability/spelling etc without pressure to actually write.

looneytoons Sat 23-Jul-11 21:50:13

I used to get my son to make his own yu-gi-ho cards as this was something that intrested him. He would then do his best writing because if we used them in the game we would need to know what it said. We also made treasure maps he would practice his handwriting by writing on all the places.
We use to play a game were one person writes the begining of a story on a piece of paper they fold it over and the next person writes a bit the idea is to see how funny the story is at the end. Word shark for the computer is good for learning spellings.

prudaloo Sat 23-Jul-11 23:13:19

My son was very reluctant to write when young, although he made up wonderful stories and was a keen and excellent reader. One holiday he decided to make a newspaper, with a page for each day, and he made up a story and drew a picture. T'was pretty gruesome stuff, to be honest, but probably a good reflection of what he was hearing in the News bulletins - bombs, murders, car accidents, lost children etc.
We also encouraged lots of labelling of everything and anything, bought big roll of paper and let him write with big crayons, paintbrush,mud(!), berries- anything.
He gradually became more enthusiastic and later won several prizes- Royal Mail letter-writing competition, short story comps, poetry etc.

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