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6 year old girl struggling with writing

(23 Posts)
ilovekhaleesiseyebrow Wed 01-Nov-17 10:46:17

For those of you with older kids or the teachers amongst us would be very grateful for some help with advice on reading/writing...

DD is 6 and in year 2 (one of the youngest in her year). I know they all develop at a different rate but I have no idea when I should be concerned. To put in perspective due to health issues she missed a whole half term in reception and it really set her back - she actually didn't progress at all with her reading.

I'm not a pushy parent but I think she may be struggling - this morning we had a 'don't want to go to school as we have to write a story.' DD is uber independent and she doesn't like the fact her table get extra help and her best friend doesn't. Her vocabulary is amazing but her writing can't keep up with it and she gets frustrated. She's got the personality that if she can't do something perfectly she just wants to give up and not do it at all.....

Now in year 1 and 2 she's moving up her reading levels and I think probably on lower end of average reading. However many kids are now free reading. She is way off that. However I'm kind of happy as she's making progress. I think...

With writing she's extremely reluctant and it is so messy. Her pencil grip is very poor but despite a whole array of devices and pressure she can't change it- I'm sure it's genetic as her dad holds his pen in an identical way. She occasionally gets her bs and ds muddled still, she also has a tendency to spell phonetically. For example her spelling test has write (which she got right) but in her diary to her fairy she wrote 'rite' . Lots of other examples too

Now I totally realise like I may sound like a total knob. She's still only so tiny at 6 years old. I just have no benchmark if I should be worried or not. Any advice much appreciated!

Thank you

IggyAce Wed 01-Nov-17 10:53:56

Didn't want to read and run. Don't have much advice, but has your DD been assessed for hypermobility? It can effect joints and if she has it in her hands/fingers could be the reason why she struggles. I suggest it since you think it's genetic. From my DD been diganosed with hypermobility in her knees I realised I have it in my wrists.

Ploppie4 Wed 01-Nov-17 10:57:14

Personally I wouldn’t worry. She’s clearly had a difficult year and is the youngest. Some children are hothoused even before reception while other parents think outside of the (schooling) box and put less emphasis on learning word/sound formulas in the younger years. Either way the table settings you see in year one are rarely the table settings the same children have in year 6. The less hothoused naturally intelligent children blossom.

However I would recommend you concentrate on reading with your Dc. Not just Biff and Chip but more interesting library books that take your DCs interest. The writing will fall often into place once the reading is much stronger. Forget about the writing

Ploppie4 Wed 01-Nov-17 10:59:11

It’s normal to spell phonetically and get Ds and Bs mixed up at that age. Reevaluate things when she’s in juniors aged 8.

ilovekhaleesiseyebrow Wed 01-Nov-17 11:03:08

Thank you so much. Yes we do have hypermobility running through family. Both on my and DHs side. What are the implications IggyAce?

I think the reason I started to worry is (I know I know we mustn't compare but....) the other children have such amazing writing and spellings and are free reading Roald Dahl. DD is only just on turquoise. Jesus typing this is sound like a twat.

Ginmummy1 Wed 01-Nov-17 11:10:36

It’s natural to compare! It sounds like your daughter is doing ok and making progress. It also sounds as though she’s a bit unlucky in being in a very bright class or hanging out with the more advanced readers.

I’d keep supporting her at home, keep encouraging her, and reassure her that she doesn’t have to ‘keep up’ with her friends. Easier said than done though!

millionsofpeaches Wed 01-Nov-17 11:21:22

I know it's a cliche, but I could have written that op!

Your DD sounds exactly like mine, almost the youngest in year 2, huge vocabulary, v creative, loves learning, but hates writing, mixes up b and d, and only just on turquoise books.

We had a phase at the start of the year with her hating school. I spoke to one of her teachers (shared class) as I think they thought she was just lazy. It seems they had missed her appalling pen grip which I had asked about in year 1 and the fact that she genuinely finds writing difficult. I think because she is so articulate and bright, they missed the fact she was actually struggling. They were punishing her for not finishing her work 🙄

They gave her a sloping desk and a pencil grip and she's so much happier. She still would rather not do writing, but she's much happier at school and seems to be making more progress with her writing (parents evening tomorrow, so we will find out more then).

It doesn't help that DDs best friend is top of the class at everything and has been free reading since reception!!

I try not to worry too much, encourage reading and writing for fun and trust that her love of learning, inquisitiveness and creativity will help her to do well in life.

Bunnychopz Wed 01-Nov-17 12:33:39

My children’s writing was crap. But actually they blossomed and are A grade students now at a level and gcse

Highly recommend reading more often. Help DD become a book worm. Encourage a love of books. Don’t worry about the writing just yet. Not for a couple more years.

IggyAce Wed 01-Nov-17 15:40:58

There maybe no implications, I just got really aching wrists when I was typing all my uni assignments up and I needed a mouse mat with wrist rest. But if she has then there are exercises that may help. My DD currently doesn't need any treatment as she isn't suffering any pain, but if that changes then I will ask for a referral to muscoskeltal again.

ilovekhaleesiseyebrow Wed 01-Nov-17 17:05:05

Thanks again everyone . Really comforting to hear all your comments

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Nov-17 17:11:12

Does she have good fine/gross motor development?
If not, doing work on those areas may make her progress further.
For reading, I think what level she is on now, and others who are ahead in her class , are not so different in about a year's time.
Writing, I think doing extra work will pay off. And Reading, just keep on reading, that's it, imo.

ProfessorCat Wed 01-Nov-17 17:12:22

As a teacher, she's 6. Please don't worry.

The most important thing here is to engage her with literacy and not force her to write as she already sounds like she isn't very keen.

Read lots with her at home, not just school reading books but library books, non fiction, anything she will enjoy looking at with you.

Can you do some writing at home together? When I'm trying to engage my Year 1/2 reluctant writers I try and create an area that appeals to them. Sand tray with feathers to make letters in. Etch a sketch, letter blocks, pretty writing paper, glitter gel pens, special diaries, pencils with appealing rubbers on the ends, things to copy, handwriting sheets, simple word puzzles, rolls of wallpaper stuck underneath tables with torches and highlighters, iPad apps.

We tell stories and we write them as pictures, Pie Corbett style story maps, word games before I make them write anything.

It's very very daunting at that age for some children to just be told to write. Some children love making up stories and others really struggle. If you talk, talk and more talk so she knows exactly what she wants to write down, you might find it begins to flow. But it all starts with talk.

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Nov-17 17:20:10

ProfessorCat, can I be a bit nosy and ask you what year group/key stage do you teach? (Nothing to do with this thread, I've seen many of your post recently and just curious for future enquiry when I have some questions! smile)

ProfessorCat Wed 01-Nov-17 17:33:00

My last class was Year 2, but I've taught every class in Foundation Phase and KS2.

However I stopped in March because I've had to start using a wheelchair and schools don't like disabled teachers smile Hopefully I'll be able to go back at some point as I'm bored and missing it. Hence Mumsnet grin

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Nov-17 17:49:17

Thank you. I think I will be asking your help in the future. smile
I really hope you would stay as very helpful and dedicated MN teachers like many others! (I have known great mn teachers in the past who has gone or name changed.)
It's great to have so many of people like you tbh.

cestlavielife Wed 01-Nov-17 17:56:18

Ask for OT assessment the ABC movement battery is standardised assessment just a set of fun games really and will give a benchmark and strategies

shakemysilliesout Wed 01-Nov-17 18:03:21

We have a 6 yr old with writing issues here, I dedicated my time to her writing and it is improving, we only read and do writing at home, she can't do the other work set of she can't write legibly so I have focused on this with quality rewards, such as build a Bear.

ProfessorCat Wed 01-Nov-17 18:07:55

Thanks - I'm still going to be involved in education when I can from home, so not out of it completely but there's nothing like being in the classroom!

Ha, I didn't realise I'd been helpful to anyone. I have pretty strong opinions wink

MissBeehiving Wed 01-Nov-17 18:10:14

Both my boys had awful handwriting and have been diagnosed with dyspraxia. What about her other motor skills like riding a bike, tying laces and using a knife and fork?

irvineoneohone Wed 01-Nov-17 18:45:34

ProfessorCat, I really think someone like you is such a great asset for MN primary board.
I really hope you feel/get better and do whatever you wish to do soon, but I also hope you will stay and help us parents even after you gone back to teaching again.

Sorry for derailing op.

Apple23 Wed 01-Nov-17 23:02:27

Encourage the reading and a range of physical activities, especially weight-bearing through arms - gross motor skills develop before fine motor skills - and games that develop fine motor skills - threading, peg-board, using pegs and tweezers. If you've not tried it, holding a pom-pom in her hand whilst writing can help with keeping the correct pencil grip. Has she been given a writing slope?

Bowerbird5 Thu 02-Nov-17 05:19:50

I agree with Apple I think you need to concentrate on improving her fine motor skills. Playing with play dough, goop, baking dough biscuits, beeswax. Threading, weaving, knitting, painting, rag rug kit all these activities will strength her fingers and that in turn will help the writing. Don't tell her why she is doing these activities just let her enjoy them and the writing will develop. Larger triangular pencils may help.
Reading: every day for short periods about five minutes and a read together story book at bedtime. Little and often until she wants to read for longer. b & d confusion is common. I don't know why they don't teach the open b like I was taught. I have only known one school who taught it here.

Apple23 Thu 02-Nov-17 10:23:26

If the b-d reversal is bothering her, there are lots of examples of visual reminders online, which is indicative of how common it is. If you search Google images for 'bd bed reminder strategies', you'll get printable picture cards and hand actions. See if there's one that she 'clicks' with.

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