DS is in P2 aged 7- they are asking them to write "interesting&qu
We are in Scotland so my DS is in his second year of formal education, class age is 6-7.
They have recently started to receive written homework, quite a lot of it on a Monday night to complete by Friday. Fair enough, I make sure DS does it during the week but he finds writing quite hard and struggles taking a long time to complete sentences.
We went in for parents evening on Tuesday and the teacher told us that a lot of the focus is on writing interesting sentences with "wow" words that are more exciting for people to read.
I'm happy to be told I'm wrong, but it seems quite a lot of expectation for children that are getting to grips with writing as they did little writing in P1. Also his spelling isn't great but they don't seem to correct that.
Don't get me wrong, I write in my spare time so I think it's wonderful that children are getting help in this, but I just think it feels like running before they can walk.
I should probably go and speak to the teacher again, at the time it didn't sink in, but now it has and I can see how hard it is for DS who is trying to write neatly, form sentences correctly, spell correctly, then trying to make it exciting on top.
I would be keen to hear others thoughts.
This is the opening sentence written by a 5 year old in my class
"One dark night when every child was in bed, Jub would walk through the gloomy forest and climb to the top of the highest tree at the end of the forest and when she got there she would carefully open a big green bag and shake all the happy endings out."
Wow mrz, that's amazing. Is that indicative of the level of normal 5 year olds writing? Should I be worried about DS being behind as the teacher didn't seem overly concerned.
I think it's about improving in increments. My DD is in Y2 in England (so I guess similar age) and she's been asked to think about things like (not all at once)
- using more interesting words e.g. rather than saying "big" use "enormous", "huge" etc
- adding adjectives and adverbs
- Linking sentences with connectives
- thinking about staring sentences in a different way i.e. moving away from something like "He went to the shops. He went home. He went to bed."
I wouldn't be worried if your son isn't writing like that
"One night Jub would walk through the forest and climb to the top of a tree at the end of the forest and when she got there she would open a bag and shake all the happy endings out."
but just adding some adjectives and adverbs makes basic into interesting
Sounds pretty normal at my DS1s infant school, that is what they want to be achieved by the children but thats not to say all children are able to do it of course. From what I have seen this varies hugely in a year group.
DS1 at 4/5 could write how Mrz described but DS2 who is not behind at all most definitely can't. Today DS2 got a sticker for writing 'That is a lot of fish', that is about his limit but IMO that is still good as he could not read or write at all in September when he started school (YR in England).
I asked in p2 about ds1's spelling and was told that unless it was a word that they were supposed to know how to spell (ie they had had it for spelling homework) then they didn't mind about the spelling.
Getting ds1 to write in p1 and p2 was like trying to get blood out of a stone and sometimes I found it hard to be encouraging when he didn't seem to want to make the effort, but a few months ago, it seemed to just click with him and it all fell into place.
My twin dds just turned 7 and are also in p2 in Scotland. I've noticed recently they've been asked to start including 'wow' words. One of my dds is a total bookworm and finds this comes naturally. However the other is more imaginative but her vocabulary is slightly more basic and she needs more encouragement. I think all you can do is help him think of different words to stretch himself slightly. What about buying him a children's thesaurus. Mine have one and enjoy looking up words to find alternatives
Good idea about the children's thesaurus - I'll have a look out for one of those.
Fingers crossed that it all clicks for DS, his reading seems to have come on in leaps and bounds recently so hopefully it will be the same for the writing. I guess what I'm trying to say that it feels like enough of a stretch for him to write a couple of ordinary sentences never mind making them exciting <<sigh>>. He's more of a maths boy really.
You can make a little floppy booklet of properly spelled adjectives for him to use in his stories and discuss them with him. Perhaps he can tell you little stories first without writing anything down. My daughter has to have two booklets, one to keep in her tray at school and the other to use at home. In the classroom they can stick adjectives on the wall. But the house gets a bit messy if we do it at home.
Sounds like a perfectly reasonable expectation to me. Not particularly challenging for a 6-7 year old. I'd be worried if the teachers weren't expecting them to be working at that level.
In class we have "Magpie" books ... a note book to record "shiny" words from the stories we share or the children read independently that would make our writing more interesting.
My daughter is p2 in Scotland and enjoys thinking if fun sentences to write but they are short and spelling us not great! I try not to worry as do believe children develop at their own pace with encouragement and hot housing doesn't necessarily work long term.
Ok it's probably down to me being an old gimmer. I find it odd that they focus on this rather than spelling and neat writing, but if it helps then to learn that can only be good. Hopefully it will get less tortuous encouraging him to do his writing homework as he gets used to it.
We don't focus on sentence construction to the exclusion of spelling and handwriting all are equally important.
I'm an editor by trade, and believe me, some adults can't even write 'interesting' sentences!
Writing sentences with an interesting opener, different connectives, wow words and correct punctuation (full stop, question mark, speech marks) is the expected level for Year 2 in England.
It helps to plan the story first with an introduction, beginning, middle, problem, resolution and ending. The story should be a minimum of about six interesting sentences.
The idea is to avoid pages and pages of writing 'and then..., and then..., and then, etc. Make the story shorter but more intesting iyswim - better quality of writing.
I don't think it even matters if your DC can't begin to write like this. My dyslexic DD1 couldn't.
What lessons like this do is give DCs 'permission' to use their imagination and be creative. If you focus to much on hand writing and spelling DCs feel compelled to produce very dull safe writing. What you get reads like a YR reading book.
If your not careful as DCs get older they write more, they spell better and it's neater, but it's still as dull as dishwater.
Our senior school English master spent months making us write essays and non rhyming poetry in the vague hope we wouldn't send the O'level examiner to sleep.
Way way easier to do it at primary when DCs are still reading wonderfully illustrated story books and aren't embarrassed.
DD1s first GCSE assessment was to describe a street market, which needs exactly these skills.
Try 'telling tales' it's a board game that encourages children to verbally tell stories picking up characters, places and objects each go leading to an ending. They need to be able to do it verbally to help with writing it.
Mrz that opening paragraph is taken straight from a book, i read it to dd just the other night!
OP we are always told that wow words are relative to the child's ability, so for the poster who's ds wrote about a lot of fish, he might just have to say eg a lot of shiny fish. Further along the line you'd be looking for more.
I will look out for that game Babies.
It's funny I was talking to my mum about this this morning. She was a doctor, so clearly intelligent. Her handwriting was so bad that she failed her pathology exam 3 times as the examiner could not read it and now I think of it I always struggled to read her letters to me at Uni ( old person in days before t'internet).
Mrz that opening paragraph is taken straight from a book
That's what I was going to say. I recognized it straight away!
No it isn't Goldendandelion ...it is a retelling of a story but very much in the child's own words.
If it were straight from a book I would hope the editor would have corrected the grammar.
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