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Bright 7y0 refusing to do writing

(17 Posts)
cornflakegirl Sat 11-May-13 17:14:48

DS (7, nearly 8) is very able and doing well in school. However, he is very resistant to writing. He is G&T in maths and loves reading, and I think part of the problem is that he doesn't want to do stuff that he doesn't find easy. This is a problem for work in school (he has good ideas but doesn't get enough down on paper) and also for homework (we have an agreement with his teacher that if he doesn't get it done within 30 minutes, he will have to finish it in his break time at school).

Today I told him he had to write a book review as we had won a book on here, on condition that we gave feedback. It was a book he really enjoyed, and he has a standard format for book reviews, so I thought it would be straightforward. However, it took 2.5 hours, with me by turns trying to help him organise his thoughts, leaving him alone, and getting cross at him and threatening to take away screen time. And he produced this:

In Captain Underpants 9th epic novel Tippy Tinkletrousers goes back five years where four bullies were being nasty and George and Harold were trying to stop the bullies.

The bullies are nasty and powerful. Tippy Tinkletrousers is half good - half bad. George and Harold are good, sly and clever.

I liked it when Tippy accidentally shot ice at his feet. I also liked it when Captain Underpants sat on a swing and said "Yo, Tippy Tip. Can I have some ice please?"

He can produce much better work than this. Has anyone got any suggestions on how to tackle this, please?

CheesyPoofs Sat 11-May-13 17:33:21

I don't understand the problem. That book review is good.

He's 7!!!!

He may resent having to spend 2.5 hours on a weekend writing a book review!

LittleMissGerardButlerfan Sat 11-May-13 17:36:56

I also think that is fine for a 7 year old, I wouldn't expect anything more.

numbum Sat 11-May-13 18:06:52

Has anyone got any suggestions on how to tackle this, please?

Yes, leave him alone!! He's 7 and doesn't enjoy writing. Forcing him to do something he doesn't enjoy doing for 2 1/2 hrs on a Saturday is only going to resent doing it even more.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible and am talking from experience. DS progressed massively when I stopped nagging and ranting talking about his lack of interest in writing

exoticfruits Sat 11-May-13 18:16:00

I would just leave him alone- he knows what to do- he obviously can do it so I would back off. His teacher appears to know him with the 30 mins and finish at break- you don't need to get involved.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 11-May-13 18:33:57

It'll come - let him continue to enjoy reading and be patient.

Ds barely scraped his 2a in year 2; continued to be a reluctant writer through lack of speed an also perfectionism until at least yr5. Now in yr 7, his writing is consistently marked at level 7 and he LOVES writing now!

acebaby Sat 11-May-13 19:29:12

I could have written this. I am sorry to hijack your thread, but to give you an idea... My DS is the same age (7 and 9 months). He too is 'gifted' in maths, science and reading. He is very resistant to writing. What he writes is okay for his age (book review, written a few weeks ago with no support: Zoom Encyclopedia is a brillent book. You zoom in, have a look and then zoom out. It is a fantastic way to look at our wold and beond. From plankton to super clusters, you can see the world in a totally different way. Wherver you turn will be a big suprise.) But his handwriting is virtually illegible, he is very slow and he rarely finishes his work at school. His pencil grip is awful. If there are any distractions, he finds it hard to write and think at the same time. the review I posted was written by himself in his bedroom. He wouldn't have been able to do it in the noisy classroom.

Last week, I showed some of his work to a family friend, who happens to be head of learning support at a prep school. She strongly advised us to get him assessed for dyspraxia. I hadn't thought that his problems were serious enough for a label - and maybe they aren't, we'll see. The thing that was most significant, in her view, was how difficult and tiring he finds writing. A reasonably bright almost 8 year old should be able to write a half page in the classroom without dissolving into tears, apparently.

Has anyone advised you to get your DS assessed?

Sorry for the long post, and the hijack, but maybe we could support each other a bit through this thread smile??

Periwinkle007 Sat 11-May-13 19:49:35

my kids are younger so no idea if that is right for his age but personally I think for a book review by a 7 year old it looks good.

if he is struggling to get his ideas down on paper could you perhaps help him work out how to do a plan. so he notes down his beginning, middle, end or beginning, a few stages and end.

I would have thought it was a very common problem to struggle to get ideas down, I used to hate writing stories for that very reason and trying to stick to the point and not lose where the story is going is quite a skill to learn but it will come I am sure.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 11-May-13 19:57:21

If my 7 DS year old wrote that I'd be dancing for joy and be very proud.

But there is no way I'd expect him to sit down and write for that long. I'd allow 20 mins and if he wasn't able to focus on it we would leave it.

My DS is an excellent reader but hates writing.

mikkii Sat 11-May-13 20:03:15

My DS is a little older at 8.9 but exhibits the same as yours. Last year we had a teacher my DS didn't like and she lacked strategies for getting him interested. From 2 weeks into the autumn term we were counting down to July! My DS has an amazing imagination, but if it needs to be written down, he ill reduce it to as few words as possible as he finds writing such hard work. Obviously this reduces the impact of what he is thinking about.

This year DS has a teacher he adores and wants to please so he is trying hard. He doesn't recall how words are spelt, so has to sound things out which makes his writing much slower. At her suggestion he was tested for dyslexia. We have now been told he is borderline for dyslexia, no need for additional lessons, but suggested a spell checker would help. Also the school suggested that when possible we let him do his written work on the computer.

Overall, the outcome of the tests is that he is (apparently) spelling at about the correct level for his age, but is reding about 3 years ahead of that.

I'm lucky in he fact I have a colleague whose DM is a dyslexia teacher and she has sent him a workbook to use.

DeWe Sat 11-May-13 21:25:16

Ds is in year 1 but I could have written that.
The teacher said about him "I'm sure his writing would be very good if he would actually do it".

Karoleann Sat 11-May-13 21:53:44

My almost 7 year old is very similar. Year 2. It was the only thing his teacher said he struggled with at all at the last parents evening.

We went back to basics as I don't think he had a good enough grasp of letter formation. So now we do one night a week of writing practise instead of reading ( he is a free reader, so his teacher and I decided it was more benefit). I initially just bought some cursive writing books off amazon, but now we do other stuff like book reviews in the slot.

Basically when he has finished the "writing passage" he can o and play again. I help him a bit, but then leave him to it. We don't do anything at weekends except spellings.

CalicoRose Sun 12-May-13 05:45:13

Acebaby - if his problems with writing are physical (ie messy handwriting, poor grip, sensitive to noisy classroom) I'd be thinking dyspraxia more than dyslexia. (or dyspraxia combined with dyslexia if he also has trouble with spelling)

acebaby Sun 12-May-13 10:26:08

Thanks calico. He has been a free reader for ages and is okay at spelling I think (the book review I posted was his spelling). I am wondering about dyspraxia more than dyslexia, but I am still unsure whether he qualifies for diagnosis. I will get him assessed, and take it from there. Actually, I think he needs extra help, whether or not he gets a label, because as he moves up juniors, writing is becoming more and more important.

cornflakegirl Sun 12-May-13 22:09:53

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and apologies for deserting the thread.

Acebaby - if DS had written that book review I would have been really pleased. It may be short, but it is interesting to read and presents the ideas in a cohesive way.

DS is allegedly a 4c and his targets are around use of subordinate clauses etc. He can do a lot better than the minimum effort work he produced.

I don't think he is dyspraxic, as his handwriting is immaculate when he wants it to be. He is very essily distracted though.

I know he resents me for making him spend 2.5 hours doing the review. And generally I do leave school to deal with the issue. But I felt this was like writing a thank you letter, and worth making the point about. I may have been wrong.

Books - your comments about lack of speed and perfectionism really ring true. Thank you for the encouragement.

Periwinkle - helping him plan the structure and brainstorm thoughts is absolutely the approach I take. He is fairly resistant to that too though.

DeWe - yes, exactly! If he couldn't do it it would be much less frustrating!

Karoleann - do you have any resources you recommend?

Acebaby - I think your last comment sums it up for me. Writing is so important. However much he knows and understands, it will all be so much harder if he can't demonstrate the knowledge by committing it to paper.

acebaby Mon 13-May-13 09:57:08

Thanks cornflake smile! I was so pleased with the book review, I posted it on Amazon (with the spelling corrected). Seeing that he can write well just makes me all the more determined to sort out the handwriting problem.

Incidentally DS1 can also write neatly when he has to, but everything else goes out of the window (eg content, spelling, grammar) and it takes him hours. The SENCO I took his work to thought that this was more significant than the quality of the writing - as it may indicate a developmental immaturity, apparently. I'll let you know how I get on with the occupational therapist.

cornflakegirl Mon 13-May-13 11:02:29

That's really interesting. I'll have do some research, and maybe speak to the SENCO at school. I'd be very interested to hear how you get on.

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