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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.

Gumps Fri 15-Feb-13 12:21:30

Sorry only scrolled through quickly but write from the start is meant to be good. My son struggles with the size of his writing and pressing too hard with the pencil although his content is good. I'm going to give it a go.

isthatallyouvegot Fri 15-Feb-13 12:03:11

A bit of advice from experience...Don't try to support her (I know that sounds really bad!...but hear me out!) children mature into their writing at different rates...fine motor skills lag behind peers sometimes without any causes for concern, although boys tend to mature into it a lot later. Just continue to help her with any homework she needs assistance with (praising..which you probably already do smile any written work she does) and leave it be. She will either just click on day, job done, or the teacher will (in theory) try alternative ways to encourage your Dd to progress with her writing (just keep an eye on HOW the teacher tries to encourage her...hopefully if she has a good teacher it will not involve any kind of punishment). If your Dd isn't ready for writing just yet try not to push it otherwise it could have the adverse affect and result in her not wanting to do it at all. Just be mindful that you are not her teacher, they are trained to do this job. She will probably start having more attention placed on her writing at school as it is, so if she is reluctant and this is happening then I do not think she would be grateful if she then came home and had to do it again IYSWIM. Just give the school a few months and see what happens. Can I ask is she producing any written work at all? or is it in certain lessons which she isn't producing enough?

StarsAtNight Fri 15-Feb-13 11:30:09

Thanks LittlePushka. I think the teacher comments were about DD putting her writing together. Apparently when tested in isolation spelling and phonics and verbal story recounting are all good. So I think the main thing is to get her writing more.

Tried the writing practice collins book yesterday. She had to write some questions about what a little boy in a picture was doing then a list of what he was packing in a suitcase. Probably more manageable for her than an open ended story at this stage.

That said her handwriting is pretty poor which can't be helping her want to write lots if physically writing is a big effort so I am going to look at the handwriting book you suggested.

LittlePushka Wed 13-Feb-13 22:15:29

Hi, My DS same stage as your DD had similar levels and his writing was shocking (I felt!). I did speak to the teacer asd she did not recommend specific taks or books but did say, any practice little and often is good and to concentrate on letter formation rather than the content. Getting him to do a page or two from a "workbook" 3 or 4 times a week has really helped.

There are loads to chose but I did like the "At Home With..." series by Oxford University Press. The do a set which I got from Red House books very cheaply about a tenner for all eight titles. The books are eg "At home with English" (great) "At home with Handwriting 1" (if you are buying separately dont get Handwriting 2 yet, it is cursive writing). Others are:Maths, Phonics, Spelling 1 Spelling 2 and Times Tables

I like this series because each page is quite repetitive (spelling?) of the letter forms/sounds without the really dull task of writing out rows and rows of each letter at one time. The exercises are three or four to a page so it is quite flexible and fits into how much time you have got, or he could still "complete" one and get his sticker even if he was starting to lose interest. And it is so easy to reward completion of each little task.

When we started I put a date on each little box he completed and he(and I) can clearly see how much he has improved. I think that at this stage, expecting your DD to think up a story, spell her words correctly and write neatly is a big ask! I personally would rather concentrate one one objective at a time at home. Her reading is good so as she continues to read she will find writing much easier as time goes on because she will not have to think about the spelling so much. I have found that to be the case anyway.

I also told him if he wanted to send Christmas cards to his mates, he had to write them himself (mean?yes! effective? oh yes, he wrote loads).

I think she is doing really well grin...and I think the issue is really very common, and therefore normal!

Good luck to you and DD

numbum Wed 13-Feb-13 21:31:57

You sound lovely starsatnight. It's nice to see parents who realise where their child needs stretching and then 'leaving to it'. I think if you're too on top of her then it'll put her off.

I've seen friends telling their children off for not doing lovely handwriting and tearing pages out of books because it isn't right.

Your DD will find her pace and, with your encouragement, she'll soon be writing like a pro grin

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.

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.

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.

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!)

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.

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?

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?

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.

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

SF = DD obviously, damn phone!

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?

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.

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 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.

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 21:41:48

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.

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!

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....

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.

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

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

Ask her. Children have their own ideas.

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