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Strategies to help a child with bad writing participate in the rest of his lessons

(5 Posts)
GreenTomatoJam Mon 02-May-16 08:21:27

We just moved, and DS1 (5, August born) has obviously had to move from his lovely little country primary, to an International (American) school in our new country.

He's always struggled with handwriting (had no interest in art as a toddler, so it's been a challenge getting his handstrength up - he was having OT at school in England) - although his reading and comprehension is excellent, and his maths is average, his spelling phonetically is very good, and on learned words is also good. He loves school, but does have his head in the clouds if he's not interested in something (like writing).

Initially we'd put him into Kindergarten, but all the work was things he'd already done in reception, so we bumped him up to grade 1 (roughly seems equivalent to year 1) - but he's having issues, largely caused by his writing (which we are working on, but is still pretty poor), and compounded by his teacher who strongly believes in independence, and so all classwork is marked by peers rather than by her - who can't read his writing, and so complain about him. He also struggles to complete classwork because his writing is slow, and there seems to be much more of an emphasis on work sheets than at his UK school, so he spends a lot of playtimes inside completing his class-work.

We have a meeting booked with the teacher to discuss his progress, and whilst I think he's really pulled his writing up, it's still affecting his other work disproportionately, and I'm looking for some ideas to suggest to help him fully participate while we work on his handwriting.

I don't think he's dyslexic or has other special needs (other members of my family do, and he doesn't share other traits) - we just need to find strategies to keep his other work progressing rather than it all being about his handwriting.

jennielou75 Mon 02-May-16 11:30:00

Um work marked by peers really? Once in a while maybe but all the time? I ask my children to check their work but they don't always spot mistakes because they don't know they are mistakes! I really would question this practice.

quirkychick Mon 02-May-16 11:35:00

I thought boys typically don't often have the hand strength for writing till much later (prepared to be proved wrong, though). What strategies is the teacher putting in place to help his writing? Do the school know he had OT help previously? I don't know the American system but is there some way to access extra support for his writing?

jennielou75 Mon 02-May-16 11:37:46

Is there any adult help available? I have a child who struggles with writing so he writes one sentence and my ta scribes his next setence and they alternate.

silverduck Mon 02-May-16 13:19:51

To answer your question and leaving the rest of the post aside the things the school tried with my DS:

- letting him type on a laptop - school were initially dubious about this due to age but he is a very fast typist for his age and it worked well.
- TA scribing for him for topic work.
- Getting him to do all his work on handwriting paper
- Getting him to do all his work on very wide lined paper
- Using various pens, pencils with grips, funny shaped pens etc.
- Asking him to read the work out whilst the teacher marked it

backed up with:
- OT
- 1:1 sessions doing colouring, dot to dot, things like that.
- Teacher saying she marks his first so she can concentrate (!)
- They checked for dyspraxia and concluded he was just immature with the skills needed for writing.

He is much older now and it's still an issue, but we're getting there. Good spelling does help others when deciphering so that's a positive. I found handwriting practice at home didn't help much, arts and crafts did. It isn't his first choice of activity but I found he was willing to do it when given a lot of choice about what craft to do.

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