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Awfully childish story writing by a Y2 - consistently poor(17 Posts)
DS1 loves reading. He does read a lot - fictions and non-fictions. We read chapter stories every night.
So when it comes to his story writing, I feel awfully helpless. The contents of his stories are usually extremely simple and back-and-forth just similar ideas/languages. With all the tips given to him again and again in school and by myself, he just can't come up with anything beyond what a 5 years old would possibly say.
I don't know if it's an issue of lack of imagination. I don't know if it's to do with his undiagnosed ADHD (bad short-term memory and difficulty to focus on top of moderate speech delay). Does anyone has a little one in similar situation and somehow this was resolved on its own with one of those "magical intelligence leaps"?
Example of his writing: "There’s a dinosaur called Eddie. It is gigantic and nice to animals. It seems to be superb kind. I think I’ll call it Eddie. The dinosaur says good bye. My friends will be happy. Dinosaur are extinct and strong."
Please tell me if I'm overreacting!
I'm no expert but he's 7 so calm down!
Could you give him the story thread and get him to write it with more adjectives?
What's his imaginative play like?
Sounds like you are being harsh. He's 6 or 7 - an infant. And an infant in lockdown. Just give him lots of opportunities to write, and no pressure!
It seems to be an issue of organising his thoughts. A lot of children , are even in y6 struggle with that when they are "free" writing. Basically, they write as they think , whatever pops into their head,revisit an idea,forget etc.
Some tips that might work
always have a plan(story mountain,comic strip,bullet points etc) with at least 3 sections beginning,middle, end
Use a word bank for adjectives,adverbs, sentence starters
Do little bits at a time and section the story throughout the week
Ask the child to reread what they wrote, does it make sense, what were they trying to say, would they change anything?
Go for quality over quantity
Try giving him a story mountain - encourage him to have a beginning, build up, problem, resolution and ending. You could act stories out using his toys or use picture cards - stories need to be told orally before being written down.
You could alternate between the two of you and make stories up together at bedtime. He could say a line and then you could.
Jesus chill out, he's 7 not 27. Just a small child who will even out over time and find his strengths. Let him enjoy his schoolwork, praise him for the bits he's especially good at and gently encourage him to keep trying
DDis in y3 and hers are dire , because she rushes and hates doing it, but they're good enough and her spelling,punctuation,vocab etc are fine so the teachers are happy and I just have to suck up and look for enjoyable reading on my Kindle.
In school, they will use writing frames and plans to help with this. You could talk about possible settings, other characters, surrounding obstacles( the problem) and resolution. Some schools call it a story mountain.
Maybe look at these once you've read a story together, make sure he understands the structure before he starts writing. You could try other methods of recording ideas, e.g. recording speech if handwriting is part of the issue. You could try story dice as prompts, or even make your own on paper strips, giving a choice of settings, for example.
Lots of children older than him find imaginative writing hard. Often they can't visualise easily, so need help with that.
Use this time at home to work on his language development, talk about what characters in books and films are doing, who they are, what they might be thinking, what connections can he see, does it remind him of anything. Get him talking more.
And don't worry.
My lovely best friend from school was and is a very intelligent high achiever. She used to write short stories for fun that were just awful. Cringey bad. You cant be good at everything.
Mind you David walliams has done alright for himself.
- Look up 7 point story structure, break it down for him, use a story he knows and likes to demonstrate,
- then next day, get him to come up with a main character and an enemy and brainstorm some personality words and also physical description.
- brainstorm a "problem" for the main character, which he has to try to resolve in the story. Then come up with a reason why and how the enemy would try to stop him.
- then plot 7 point structure against his story, helping him to develop the ideas
-then he can start writing a scene at a time, maybe:
an opening scene showing main character in his ordinary life
scene in which the problem appears
main character tries to overcome problem and fails
things get worse, main character comes up with a new plan
main character succeeds
All he needs at his age is a couple of lines for each scene. He could try typing it. It's a useful skill to have.
I've tried the above on DS (Yr1) and he was soon brimming with ideas and had created a whole story world. Writing is slow-going, he's only 6, but he's got 2 scenes down now.
Dice prompts also a good idea, or paper slips.
Our yr 2s do lots of preparation before writing stories and some are still very simple. As suggested a story mountain or drawing a story map first but even before that lots of talking about ideas and repeating ideas to get them in head.
Another technique is to write your own version of a familiar story, changing where it's set or who is in it, or how something is done etc. So children use a familiar structure but get used to thinking imaginatively without the stress of having to completely write their own from scratch.
Use lots of verbal practice as well. So re-telling familiar stories, first with the pictures to help remember the sequence, then without when more confident. That can also help develop imagination and is with less pressure. Writing a re-telling can follow on from this.
My elder son used to really struggle with any kind of imaginative writing when he was in primary school. He always preferred non fiction books to read too, and in fact liked to watch documentaries far more than the type of programmes and films kids usually like. Whilst all his friends were watching Thomas The Tank Engine, he wanted to watch his expanding collection of DVDs about restored steam trains and heritage railways. One of his teachers then had the idea of getting him to do factual writing at school and it made a big difference. Once he was relieved of the pressure of needing to think up the story he began to write coherent and detailed pieces. Once he was successful at non fiction writing he then gained a lot more confidence in writing his own stories. As an example, he might start off writing about a particular train in an entirely factual way - what class it was, the wheel configuration, colour etc then once he had mastered that he might be asked to describe some scenery or imagine a journey on the train.Another thing that helped him was to ask him to draw a picture of his story first and then describe what he had drawn. Reducing the amount to be written was helpful too. DS has always had very small, neat writing and he hwould need to write 3 or 4 times as many words as some of his classmates to fill a page. His teacher realised this and made sure he understood he didn't have to fill the whole page.Once he was no longer focused on just filling trying to fill the space on the page everything he wrote started to make a lot more sense and definitely became considerably less repetitive.
It is still not his strongest suite and he is now doing purely science A levels but he got a very good grade for GCSE English language and can write pretty well these days. It is a far cry from how he was in the infants.
I think you have a good opportunity to try some different approaches at the moment. Try to make it fun with not too much pressure to reach any targets.
Have you tried story dices - they are fun and the whole family can join in making up stories. You can get all different types and mix and match.
Thank you so much for all the golden tips! There are so many of them here!
Appreciate all ideas/suggestions whole heartedly! - Feeling the lockdown has dropped the entire thing on my shoulder. Fairly scary!
Another thing is to try and build on something he knows, so a story, a fairy tale , even a fact book that he enjoys.
At first get him to pick the main points and features of the text. Then get him to rewrite it / tell it in his own words. You could record him or type for him.
Then change little bits for himself, like the main character, the "baddie" the setting. Then rewrite his own story using both the structure of the original and his own ideas.
As he improves/his writing evolves change more and more things.
It can work with non fiction books too, like write a fact page about a made up animal, or superhero or how to make a potion etc.