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How do I get my 11 year old to write?

(45 Posts)
seasickgal Sun 28-Aug-11 22:51:08

I'm looking for suggestions.This has been an issue all the way through school. He is a keen reader and is bright, good at maths but struggles to write anything down .I am worried he is making no progress. The school says there are no signs of dyslexia. He is getting distressed and struggles tp complete his homework.He says he doesn't know what to write and often his assignments are only a few lines long and returned incomplete.Thanks.

kayah Sun 28-Aug-11 22:58:49

If you can afford - get a tutor.
Explain what you know and let him to guide your son.

If you can't I would buy those books:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tutor-Master-Helps-Write-Stories/dp/0955590914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1310923773&sr=8-1

they are outlines of most popular topics kids write about in 11+ exams. but I also found them extremely helpful as they are simple ideas, well explained and you could do 1 or 2 a week with him, asking him to use those ideas to write his own ones.

Do you think that may work?

kayah Sun 28-Aug-11 23:00:26

www.amazon.co.uk/Tutor-Master-Helps-Write-Stories/dp/0955590914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1310923773&sr=8-1

seasickgal Sun 28-Aug-11 23:22:05

Thanks kayah, I will order the book. Sadly I don't know of any tutors locally, we live out in the sticks!
It fills me with dread as he is so resistant to writing anything.

kayah Sun 28-Aug-11 23:34:18

Would you be able to afford one, I know someone who coaches over Skype.
I think I paid him £30/hour last year and he is very good - he coached my daughter and my son too.
It was for 11+, but his teaching of English is superb, my daughter says so smile

kayah Sun 28-Aug-11 23:37:47

that was 60 min lesson

seasickgal Sun 28-Aug-11 23:40:12

It would be worth talking to him about it. We are in Scotland so he doesn't have SATs,11+ etc.It sounds expensive but we could stretch to it if required.

kayah Sun 28-Aug-11 23:43:13

I'll pm you his website now.

maree1 Mon 29-Aug-11 13:33:55

Was recommended recently to Google Creative Writing Magic Money Cards to help improve writing skills.

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 14:14:45

Please don't spend money on a tutor especially a long distance one!

www.lancsngfl.ac.uk/nationalstrategy/literacy/getfile.php?src=1284/Writing+at+Home.pdf&s=4e5b925b82ca0eb4397d1ae97da9a2e5

www.lancsngfl.ac.uk/nationalstrategy/literacy/getfile.php?src=1363/Science+Fiction.pdf&s=4e5b925b82ca0eb4397d1ae97da9a2e5

www.lancsngfl.ac.uk/nationalstrategy/literacy/getfile.php?src=1507/Talk+Homework1.pdf&s=4e5b925b82ca0eb4397d1ae97da9a2e5

www.cfbt.com/lincs/PDF/Talk%20for%20Writing%20Handout.pdf

www.amazon.co.uk/Storymaking-Jumpstart-Pie-Corbett/dp/0415466865/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314623362&sr=1-2

wordsmithsforever Mon 29-Aug-11 17:18:21

Could you perhaps tap into whatever he is passionate about? With my DS (7), he really loves Lego and all things electronic, as well as Star Wars. He started a scrapbook this year (just an ordinary, lined A4 hardcover book) and I try to catch him doing something he really loves, for example building a ship for R2-D2. We then photograph it and we stick the picture into his scrapbook and he writes a few sentences about it. Is your DS maybe keen on football - would he be interested in a scrapbook on footie?

I sold the idea to my DS wink not so much as a writing exercise but as a way of keeping a record of all the cool stuff he does. He does enjoy flipping through the book and looking at all the pics, as well as showing Granny or others bits and pieces from it. However (bit of a disclaimer) we home ed and this is done as part of our working day so whether your DS would accept it after the school day, I'm not sure!

kayah Mon 29-Aug-11 18:04:34

mrz - why a tutor (especialy long distnace one) for a pupil who has been unable to start liking something what is hard is a bad idea?

have you had bad experience in that matter?
what went wrong with teaching of your kids by a long distance tutor?

I am recommending someone whose services I have used for both of my kids in total for 2 years.
He is an amazing experienced retired primary school teacher.

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 18:24:27

No I haven't had a bad experience kayah because it isn't something I would consider and I have always refused to tutor children for the same reason and I am an experienced primary teacher SENCO and literacy coordinator ...

notnowImreading Mon 29-Aug-11 18:32:04

Two things you could try:
1) different coloured pens, especially the stabilo ones in a rigid box, seem to be a good motivator

2) write yourself, regularly, in front of him. Keep a diary, write letters and postcards, shopping lists - anything really. If you can persuade his dad to do the same it can be really powerful. It just makes writing seem a normal and enjoyable thing to do.

kayah Mon 29-Aug-11 18:40:09

mrz - you are a teacher, you can teach your children

majority of us aren't

if it was as easy as picking up a book with instructions and teaching any of us would do it, but as you know is not that simple

I am not - so I asked someone like you to help them to get better at certain areas of their curriculum knowledge

if I was to sort out problems in my life which included areas of my speciality - I do it myself, same as I help friends with those issues

if I need a professional in a different area, where I don't feel confident or have no knowledge - I call upon those who are professionals.

To me that is how the world goes...

I don't fix my own teeth, car, electrics and gas in my house.
I can occasionally help my kids if they have problem her and there, but would never claim I can teach someone to write stories.

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 18:57:44

kayah being a teacher has nothing to do with it. I refuse to take on tutoring other people's children, not because I'm incapable of tutoring, but because I feel I would be taking money under false pretences and anyone taking your money to teach your child to write over the internet may as well sell you snake oil.

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 19:02:15

OP there are lots of free /cheap ways to develop writing

play around with some of the writing/sentence games

try sentence laboratory -writing a sentence before the timer runs out and give points for each sentence.

verlainechasedrimbauds Mon 29-Aug-11 19:06:19

mrz - that seems a very odd attitude to me. If it has worked well for someone else, they are at liberty to recommend it, surely?

Sometimes we do need someone to give us motivation or to steer us in the right direction - even when it's something we ought to be able to do for ourselves.

Tutors work for some people and surely it is very, very common for children to ignore their parents and take notice and respond to exactly the same advice from someone else, especially if that person has a lot of experience and knows how to make the advice palatable/fun. It need not be a tutor you pay - it could be a friend or another parent.

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 19:14:13

verlainechasedrimbauds and does kayah know whether her children's progress was definitely down to a tutor using skype hmm or could it be that things just clicked or even god forbid that the school had addressed the problems ...

there are lots of products out there that play on parents fears ...

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 19:21:28

OP I would also suggest you talk to your son's new teacher once he has settled back into school.

kayah Mon 29-Aug-11 20:13:02

mrz as we know it this would be hard to measure as Ididn't remove them from school

but a good teacher can make all the difference

we assume kids sgould be able to write, after all they do it at school

so what's the problem?

I know that writing is a skill, can be learned/improved and some people have better chance in succeeding in doing so that others

I am relying on my kids oppinion - they didn't have to pretend that things worked

they can still tell me what school taught them and what they learned from their tutor

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 20:18:55

Sorry kayah but were your children's difficulties the same as that of the OP's son?

She says he struggles to think of something to write ...not that he can't write.
I would start by working on the premise if you can't say it you can't write it and get him to talk about what he is going to write first ... much cheaper than a skype tutor.

kayah Mon 29-Aug-11 20:25:58

I am not advocating tutor's the only way forward - that was in my earlier post

but you are advising not to use tutor, especially distance one when you never had a chance to use one yourself

my son was like that, he needed very clear help - he had to have everything explained with reasoning and good logical thought to it

I was losing my will to live....

You must have 1-2 with kids in your school, when you have to build rapport first and help them to overcome their difficulties.

What is the difference?

kayah Mon 29-Aug-11 20:27:00

besides - I was able to listen to them talking and analysing stories and also comprehension

mrz Mon 29-Aug-11 20:30:47

The difference is I'm there with them 6 hours a day 5 days a week.

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