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Please help me help DS 7 to write faster and produce more, a bit desperate

(6 Posts)
RaisinHell Fri 28-Sep-12 12:46:53

Please can anyone offer any help at all, links to resources, suggestions etc that I can try to help my DS to improve his writing.

This is not a new problem, it has been a problem since Y1 and he has now started Y3. I did post back in Y1 and had some help on here, the thread is here

By the end of Y1, he had improved more than the teacher had expected him to but it was a close thing and both of us were continually on it. So in Y2 I was fairly pro-active with the teacher but it didn't seem to be a problem for her and the response was always that he doesn't write very much at all but what he does write is sufficient to be able to get the evidence needed to level his work. He did get a 3 for writing in the Y2 SATS.

Now we are at the start of Y3 and it's become an issue again; the teacher has said that the amount he writes is way below what is expected of him. I have spoken to her and she has been understanding but I know he is going to have to improve. I don't want him to get even more upset than he is about this, nor do I want him to have repeat work or bring work home because it is insufficient. I want to be able to help him so that he can produce an acceptable amount. I can accept that this may be something he always struggles with and that his strengths lie in other areas but I need him to get by and keep up.

He hates writing and will do the bare minimum. It takes him so long. He gets frustrated and really quite upset. He is left handed. I have all the left handed pens, pencils etc. He has the right workspace at home and at school too. His handwriting is beautiful, a lovely fully cursive script, the letter formation is near perfect and his spelling is reasonably good too. I think this is a huge part of the problem. He is concentrating so hard on producing this really lovely writing that he is slow and then runs out of time. Also he is not that imaginative, writing stories is particularly hard for him. I also think he struggles to organise his ideas. But I think the main issue is the speed of actually moving the pen on the paper.

What can I do to help? I am willing to hear any suggestions. Thank you very much.

RosemaryandThyme Fri 28-Sep-12 14:09:18

OK - sounds like a few problems are linking together, that may require seperate strategies.

First -imagination - some children can go off on flights of fancy and produce descriptive, exciting writing others (I have one_) can only get onto paper what they have some experiance of (typically these children will be the more logical thinkers, strong in maths, able to link steps in science, puzzel fans, nifty with a football_) for these children to produce Y3 good level work they benefit from directly being shown the link between their real life experiances and writing ie keeping a diary, scrape-book in the holidays, mini-fact based topic books on their fav subjects, also being read lots of imaginatve stories and then - contrroversial here - being allowed to copy whole descriptive sentences from story books, once they know it is safe and permissible to literally copy "the squeaky haunted house", they can build to incorperating set words into their own writing ideas, ie by copying the begining and middle of a short story and giving it their own ending.

Handwriting speed - it may be worth stepping back to cursive letter pratice here, many words use the same letter combinations and cursive handwriting practice books focuse on those, Letts do a series that feature wizards and are quite boy friendly and not too babyish.
Is there a left-handed charity that could give advice ?

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 28-Sep-12 14:12:42

We've had a really similar problem last year in Y3. Just wanted to say that he did improve, dramatically, over the year and with a lot of help and support from the teacher.

We struggled to get over to him that yes, nice hand writing is good but nobody is going to shout at you if your letters aren't perfect.

Haven't got much advice, I'm a -bit of a lazy cow- bit relaxed when it comes to doing work at home and getting resources but hopefully someone will be along soon.

RaisinHell Fri 28-Sep-12 21:19:08

Rosemaryand Thyme, thanks so much, yes he is as you describe- very logical, everything is really black and white to him, a science whizz and very strong in maths, loves puzzles, sudoku, chess etc. He doesn't 'do' fiction either reading it or writing it, and reads non-fiction stuff pretty much exclusively. He has plenty of real life experiences to draw upon for his writing but never does! However if you're saying that he actually needs to be shown to do this then I can do this. I'm happy to model writing for him too if this is the approach he needs. We did a lot of the 'talk for writing' type stuff in Y1 so maybe I need to go back to that too. And maybe if he won't read fiction then I am going to have to read it to him. Re. the copying are you kind of suggesting that he builds up a known 'bank' of descriptive words, phrases, ideas? That's a good idea as then he only needs to 'fit' them together like a puzzle. Thanks for the tip about the Letts books, I will look for them. I have seen some left handed writing practice ones on Amazon but they were out of stock. I want to get his pen/hand movements flowing nice and fluidly, I think that will help the speed.

JiltedJohnsJulie, thanks for the support, good to hear you had similar. I will try to get through to him that he should accept a few mistakes for a while if that's what it takes to get the speed up a bit. What I want this time is sustained improvement, not another lapse which seemed to have happened over Y2.

Thanks very much indeed. Any more ideas would be gladly received.

prettydaisies Sat 29-Sep-12 16:34:52

I often tell my class that good writers are thieves and liars! They can steal phrases or sentences from other places and they can exaggerate from their own real life experiences (most can do thus quite well), but we also play games, e.g. What happened on the way home from school last night? The car broke down. The car broke down and it was really dark and raining. The car broke down in the rain and we had to wait at least 3 hours for the breakdown man to come. While we were waiting we saw frogs hopping over the road. Etc etc.

RaisinHell Sat 29-Sep-12 18:33:38

Prettydaisies, thank you for that, I will remember 'thieves and liars' grin

We have played that game or very similar, I think it was in a Pie Corbett book and called 'In the City of Rome'. Good to hear I am on the right track. Thank you.

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