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How to improve my ds' writing? Writing sentences.

(6 Posts)
msdiamant Mon 31-Mar-14 00:02:00

He is in Y3. Most of the time he prefers to construct simple sentences. Does not use many connectives or more complicated words. He enjoys reading and we hope this will improve his writing. Are there workbooks for this age to improve essay writing skills? Usually we don't discuss books but may be we should.? He told me he just finds it difficult to write stories even though he has a plan in his head.
I would be grateful for any useful suggestions, links, books.

ddmommy Mon 31-Mar-14 00:31:45

My DD never liked writing, but loves reading. Early in Y1 her teacher commented that given her high reading level she'd expected her writing to be more developed, but DD just found it hard, and even struggled to make sentences with the spelling words, that was part of her weekly homework.

So I thought she needs more practice. We started a diary - I'd print pictures of interesting events in her life, stick it into a book and she writes. It started with just a sentence or two and was difficult at first. We also started a book diary - she summarizes books she reads and rates them. Also - I helped her plan her stories with the spelling words for homework and asked questions to get her to think about sentences.

Now in Y2 she still does not like writing, but is a lot better at it.

Also - these workbooks looked good for working on sentence structures - they come in different age groups --
www.amazon.co.uk/Sentence-Structure-Punctuation-Developing-Literacy/dp/0713684577/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1396222217&sr=8-2&keywords=developing+literacy+sentence+structure

PastSellByDate Mon 31-Mar-14 09:49:30

Hi msdiamant:

I have three ideas that have helped my DDs over the year.

First - have a look at these VCOP (Vocabulary/ connectives/ openers/ punctuation) pyramids - this helps give you an idea of elements in writing that teachers are looking for and gives you some idea of what you should be encouraging next: displays.tpet.co.uk/?resource=387#/ViewResource/id387. The pyramids work that at the top is the lower level skills and at the base is higher level skills.

Second - when your DC has written work - look it over and challenge them to make it more interesting. We had no writing homework from our school so I just encouraged DD to write any old sentence. She came up with:

Harry Potter is a boy

I rolled my eyes and said 'Oh come on, can't you make that more interesting?'

Harry Potter is a boy wizard.

'Better but can you make it snazzier?'

Harry Potter looks like an ordinary boy, but actually he's a wizard.

Much much better.

We did it for a number of characters from the book - and by the end DD got the idea that it wasn't that her sentences were wrong (they were perfectly fine); they just weren't that interesting to read. And a paragraph of lots of choppy short sentences doesn't read well.

3) A friend of mine had a DS who hated writing but loved drawing. So she encouraged him to make cartoons with dialogue. This got the vocabulary developing, writing skills working and he enjoyed it. He's got books full of cartoons now and frankly he's really amazing. He's also making captions for stop motion films.

HTH

msdiamant Mon 31-Mar-14 13:21:19

Thank you for reading my post ddmommy and Pastsellbydate. My DS could have improved his writing if he wanted but he just doesn't like writing. May be a bit lazy or stubborn. He does not receive any homeworks in English and they could have given something at least once a month.
He has just completed reading a big thick book in a few days. I asked him yesterday a few questions about the story but he could not answer any. So I think we will need to work on it as well. Ddmommy, I don't think diary will help him as he needs to be willing to do it but I will try using the book he has just read. You never know. He can be difficult, a pain in one place smile
The workbook is probably good but a bit expensive. I hope to find something cheaper.
Pastsellbydate, I like the pyramide. I only wish he would use it. I am going to make it today.
He loves drawing stories with his brother. I might encourage him to add dialogues as well. I doubt he will use more than five words but may be it will develop his love for writing smile
I also know that he doesn't want to do extra at home because it is not the homework. I am just surprised why in Y3 they don't receive homework in English.

Thank you again for the great ideas. I will try the diary, dialogues and the pyramide. May be his story characters could have a diary with drawings. Will also try the trick with developing a sentence, like with Harry Potter example.

PastSellByDate Mon 31-Mar-14 13:39:08

Hi msdiamant:

One other thing that may help is not to write about stories but to talk about them.

So perhaps he can read a book to you (maybe not every night, but at intervals - for example weekends are easier for me, so the girls and I read the Lemony Snicket series and discuss the story, vocabulary, what we think might happen next, whether characters are to be trusted, etc... I also read this to them, as much as getting them to read to me - so we're all sharing).

DH has a policy of no film until you've read the story - it does help. We also discuss how the film is different from the story - which can sometimes be really interesting.

msdiamant Mon 31-Mar-14 14:14:49

Hi PastSellByDate. I agree with you on it. Yesterday I could see that he couldn't tell what the story was about. I think it is called Tom Gates. I have heard it is a very popular book. He doesn't enjoy discussing the book while reading so I think I will be giving questions at the end. Usually he reads before going to bed so it is a bit tricky with questions. I have another DS who is quite disruptive but at least he likes discussing a story. I will have to ask older DS to read the book around 6pm as he usually goes to bed around 8 pm. That will be a struggle.

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