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Yr1 Writing - How to support

(30 Posts)
StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 21:13:44

I went to parent's evening tonight. DD is in Year 1 and one of the youngest, born in August. The teacher said that her reading and numeracy is coming on well but that she is not progressing as well as the teacher feels that she could with her writing. She has just been assessed at 2B for reading and numeracy and 1A for writing.

Apparently the problem is not spelling or phonics as she seems to be able to spell all the key words when asked and passed last years phonics check when it was given to her to try. She can also recount stories well verbally. However somehow these skills are not coming together in her writing. The teacher described her as a reluctant writer and suggested that perhaps she finds reading and numeracy quite easy but needs to learn to make more effort with her writing.

Anyway I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas how I could support her writing at home. I actually have a feeling that a lot of the disparity the teacher mentioned is down to the fact that I have been consistently listening to her read nearly every night since reception and sporadically over holidays doing some maths worksheets with her (personally I quite like maths) but I have never actually done any writing with her at all, bar the odd thank you or birthday card.

However I am not quite sure how to get started. Are there any books out there with suggestions for writing tasks that children can try? The assessment I was shown tonight had a series of pictures that she was supposed to write underneath to tell a story.

messybedhead Tue 12-Feb-13 21:18:08

Are you sure she's not in year 2? Those levels are not indicative of a struggling child and if she took the phonics check last year she'd be in year 2 now?

noramum Tue 12-Feb-13 21:20:00

How about doing a diary? Or see if she wants to start writing small stories, topic of her own choosing.

DD got a book for Christmas,

It may give you some ideas how to structure a story. Some things are a bit over the top for her.

learnandsay Tue 12-Feb-13 21:22:35

If your daughter likes writing birthday cards with you, why don't you get her to write cards for all her fluffy toys? My daughter, for some reason I'll never understand, likes writing stories about a sauce bottle (with arms and legs) who goes on a train to London.

We illustrate them and she loves it. I have no clue what's going on there. But I'm ready with brush and pen when required.

StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 21:25:29

No she is in Year 1 this year. They gave her last years phonics check to check her phonics. She will also have to do this years phonics check later in the year.

The teacher didn't say she was struggling with her writing but that she thought she wasn't doing as well with her writing as she could.

So I was looking for suggestions on how to encourage her to write.

learnandsay Tue 12-Feb-13 21:28:03

Ask her. Children have their own ideas.

mrz Tue 12-Feb-13 21:29:38

2B is the expected level at the end of Y2 and 1A is a good level at the beginning of Y2

StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 21:34:00

noramum, that book looks interesting, though maybe a little advanced for her. I wonder if there are similar things more focused on key stage 1 / slightly younger children. I might buy it anyway for ideas.

Trying a diary might be a good idea. We are going away for half term. So perhaps I could get her to keep a diary of what we do each day.

learnandsay, her cards only ever say, dear childx, I love you, love DD. She then illustrates them with kisses and hearts. Very sweet but I don't think it will improve her writing.

I have noticed that most of the english workbooks for this age group are focused on phonics and other exercises that I don't think are going to help with her writing. So she can spell lots of words correctly when tested but doesn't when she writes.

makemineapinot Tue 12-Feb-13 21:40:01

I bought cheap party sets or DD in y1 and she loved wriing out fake party invites, cards and thank you letters! One of her bet ever presents! She sat for hours with her olds, teddies and friends having parties! Bought a fancy plastic tablecloth, party hats, invites, thank you letters, paper plates, cups etc and all her friends loved it too! Gave it o her in a big gift bag where it was mean to stay....

numbum Tue 12-Feb-13 21:40:39

My DS had the book noramum suggested in year 2 but never really took to it (although he hates writing!). DD is in year 1 and an excellent writer. I bought her this for Christmas and she's used it quite a lot.

Mostly she just loves notepads and pens (she has my stationery obsession!) wherever we go and writes about anything she sees or hears.

If you're going away then is there anyone she can send a postcard too? Ask her to write shopping lists while you look through the cupboards and fridge and tell her what you need. Me and DD are always writing little notes to each other as well. I found one on my bed last night saying 'To beautiful mummy. Thank you for a lovley day today. I had fun. Please can you write back to me and tell me if you loved the day too' grin I always ask a question or two in my reply because then she replies back to me.

Her levels are absolutely fine for year 1 so her teacher has worried you for no reason BTW!

StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 21:41:48

mrz, I am pretty unfamilar with NI levels. DD is my eldest and this is the first time I have been given levels for her. Would you say then that perhaps the teacher is being overly ambitious in terms of where she thinks DD should be getting to? Her line of reasoning seemed to be that her reading and numeracy were already good so her writing should be a focus. She said DDs writing level was average for the class.

learnandsay Tue 12-Feb-13 21:42:07

It doesn't matter, really. What matters is that she likes doing it. The writing can be any old stuff. "Dear Teddy, we really liked hopping in the playground."

It's the enjoyment with the writing that you're aiming for and that comes from the child. She'll happily tell you what she wants to write about. And if that happens to be "how frogs socks weren't washed last night," then that's the thing to write about. You may not have any vague idea what she's talking about. (She probably has a very good idea.) But it's getting the words down on paper in the right order which is the task. She will probably enjoy it immensely. (You might not.) But the task will be accomplished anyway. In the end you (as a parent) do get used to it! I quite like it now.

StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 21:51:07

numbum, that book looks good. She loves girly things.

I think I just need something to inspire me because I am not the sort of mum who writes notes spontaneously with my child or indeed writes anything with them at all.

To be fair the teacher didn't frighten me she said that she didn't want to be at all negative but that she did think that DDs writing could improve in relation to her maths and reading.

As I like to read DD lots of books and discuss things like zero with her but never really do any writing I thought perhaps I should get some ideas on how to do some fun writing together. Lots of ideas here already.

numbum Tue 12-Feb-13 22:01:08

I know how you feel honestly! I posted on here about DD's imagination because I don't 'do' creative and didn't know how to help her get it back but had some good responses.

Maths and reading are fine, writing I find harder. Write her notes. I think you'll be surprised with what you get back.

Oh, and my DD also likes this

StarsAtNight Tue 12-Feb-13 22:10:41

Actually on the days I work, I leave before she gets up so maybe I should leave post stick notes stuck to her door to say hello on my way out.

She would love that. Even if I don't get any back it would be a nice thing to do.

I agree that writing seems the hardest to help with.

Reading = Read them lots of books. Listen to them read lots
Maths = Do some worksheets on subtraction or whatever it is they can't do

Writing = ?? The only English work books I have seen for the 5 - 7 age group seem very focused on phonics and spelling rules and full stops and other things that don't seem very exciting or likely to actually get DD writing.

Anyway maybe it just seems that way to me because DD finds reading and maths more interesting and/or easier than writing at the moment.

Beehatch Wed 13-Feb-13 11:14:59

I've seen some lovely story cards linked from here before, but am on the phone so don't have the bookmarks I've saved. They were on Amazon though, and were a set of cards with lovely pictures that could be used to inspire story telling, either orally or by writing.

Agree with the suggestions of lots of lovely writing materials, invitations, postcards and so on. And let her explore without the need to be 'perfect' and neat. Does your SF have a cousin or friend she could penpal with - start with sending postcards and progress to letters?

Beehatch Wed 13-Feb-13 11:16:14

SF = DD obviously, damn phone!

FossilMum Wed 13-Feb-13 11:36:42

If she likes drawing, get her to label all her pictures with a title/labels and her name.
Perhaps buy her a small, pretty book to draw and write in.
As above, try more practice writing postcards, shopping lists, birthday cards, little stories, etc.
Writing in a fine-tip felt pen is often easier to start with than a normal biro, and she can choose different colours. DS (5) enjoys writing more if I let him use a green felt-tip or a pink glitter-gel pen.
Try playing a family writing game with her. DS likes doing one that consists of us getting a long strip of paper each, and drawing a small picture at the top, without telling anyone else what it's supposed to be. The strips then get passed around clockwise. The next person writes what they think the picture is. The strips get passed on again, but with the original picture folded down. The next person draws a picture intended to illustrate what the previous person has written, without reading the original writing. And so on, alternating pictures and writing, but only viewing the previous person's contribution, down to the bottom of each strip. It's like a written/drawn version of 'broken telephone'; it can be funny to see how the subjects change from beginning to end. Works much better with more than 2 people, though.

StarsAtNight Wed 13-Feb-13 12:40:34

Thanks v much for the suggestions Fossilmum and Beehatch.

Beehatch, were the cards you were thinking of called The Storyworld Box Cards - Create a Story Kit by John Matthews?

Tiggles Wed 13-Feb-13 12:50:28

DS2 is in year 1.
This halfterm he has written a fact 'book' about his favourite animal. He has really enjoyed finding out facts and then writing them down and drawing a picture to go with each page.
Could your DD do something like that maybe?

drjohnsonscat Wed 13-Feb-13 13:16:02

DD also in year 1 was given a secret diary for xmas which she really enjoyed. There are lots of pages to fill in but nothing to arduous. Just fun things:

My favourite food
My best friend
Where we went on holiday

She enjoyed filling it out and she enjoyed the secretness of it as well. Agree that the writing workbooks are boring.

DD has also enjoyed writing letters to Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny (already!) the Tooth Fairy - anyone you can think of so may be some nice children's stationery would help.

CheckpointCharlie Wed 13-Feb-13 13:29:39

Those levels are really good for an August born year 1 child. Not sure why the teacher is telling you she needs to achieve more highly, and we still have half a year to go!?

Go to Paper Chase, they have such lovely stationery. Also YY to the ideas above, could she create some information sheets about her teddies/favourite characters with labels and facts, plus pictures? Or write Daddy/nanny/anyone a letter asking them to tea/ play?
Could she write what happens next after watching one of her cartoons, so write a little story with familiar characters?

She could write you a description of someone or something and you have to guess who she has written about? Eg 'this person has brown hair and blue eyes....'

Could you make up a recipe together or something? Or some instructions for Daddy to follow to find her where gets home, and then she can hide somewhere really random!!!

You could read her fave book, write some comprehension questions and she can write the answers (in full sentences!).

Am out of ideas now! But I wouldn't be worried at all if I had a child on a 1a at this stage in year 1. (Which I do!)

Beehatch Wed 13-Feb-13 13:59:09

Yes those are the ones Stars. We don't have them yet, but am planning on getting them for DD next Xmas. I think the pictures look lovely and the reviews on here have always been positive.

DorisIsWaiting Wed 13-Feb-13 13:59:21

With dd1 we starting writing stories with Daddy.

She wrote a paragraph, then h wrote a couple of paragraphs for her whilst she was in bed. Then she carried the story on (the sillier the better grin).

It fizzled out abit but I think we need to start something similar with dd2 (also yr1). We were told that writing is often behind reading and numeracy at this stage and is completely normal.

StarsAtNight Wed 13-Feb-13 17:39:37

Lots of good ideas here. I have bought a hello kitty diary at lunch time for her to write in over the holiday and I found a collins easy learning writing practice 5 - 7 book which looked useful.

I have ordered from Amazon the story box cards and write stuff: creative writing for girls. I think that is more than enough to be getting on with. I have a toddler, a job and another one on the way to keep me busy as well.

As some people have pointed out there is nothing wrong with her writing anyway. The teacher was clear though that writing was going to be the focus for DD though for the rest of the year with maths and reading undergoing sideways extension so I had might as well try to help.

Thanks again for all the tips. I will come back to them and I am sure they will be helpful to others too.

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