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An able child is reluctant to write - strategies please!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by zoedanni, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. I currently teach year 4, top set Literacy. At the start of this year I had a lad who was working at a 3a but would write no more than about a third of a page. Through the use of a sand timer we got this up to about 3 quarters of a page in a lesson (compared to 2 sides from some others). Finally I was able to give him the level 4 he deserved (4b evidence but gave him 4c due to quantity). Unfortunately, over the last 2 terms the quantity has dipped again. I can't give him the level I know he is, due to a lack of evidence. He can't tell me what the problem is and is often quite disappointed that he hasn't completed work. There are suggestions of slight Aspergers as well as possible ADD; Mum won't have any of it though. Does anyone have any tricks I can use to help this child start writing more again?
     
  2. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    Are you my son's teacher!?
    Seriously though, what can you do? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. In the end this little boy has to decide for himself whether or not it is worth while working. How you go about motivating him is, for me, the key.
     
  3. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    I have a reluctant writer in my class: he hides in the corner, he throws his pencils away, he cries, he sulks, etc. I prepare him in advance when writing is coming up (longer writing) and I sit with him and I give him an extra day or two but shorter sessions to do his writing.
     
  4. This was the case for me when I was at school... very bright, very able writer - but blooming well HATED doing it because it flipping HURT! In my case - I have a decent pencil grip - but (still do have) the habit of gripping sooooo tight, with the finger grabbing and "driving" the pencil's knuckle (if you get what I mean) at such a steep bend that it makes other people wince looking at it! Even to this day I'm picky as heck about what pens I can write with comfortably... and am the word processing as much as possible queen (thankfully I can type quickly at least).
    Not an answer for ya there though really but no one quite understood what I was saying when I was telling them at that age that it flipping hurt me to write so much - they'd just carry on waxing lyrical about how good my writing was!
     
  5. I agree with other posters about checking pencil grip and use of word processing.
    Does he use a plan or graphic organiser to get the writing planned out before starting? Is the peice of writing "finished" but short and he uses the whole time available or does he finish a short peice of writing before time is up? Or is he writing the entire time but slowly and runs out of time to finish the peice?
    Processing speed may be an issue, or perhaps a sense of perfectionism, he wants it to be good and has trouble deciding which track to follow.
    I also agree that quantity is not necessarily relevant. When we are marking work for our national testing here in Australia, quantity does not figure in the eventual mark. As long as they have demonstrated the literary skills in their writing, eg. spelling, punctuation, transition worlds, appropriate style, paragraphing, sentence structure then they have shown evidence that they can write effectively. I don't suppose Shakespeare had an egg timer on his desk!
    Can I commend you on seeking ways to assit him, I disagree that just getting him to stay in at break time is going to address the issue. It will just make him dislike you and writing.
     
  6. My daughter is an able but reluctant writer, she has hypermobile joints and finds writing painful. Also she has problems with her handwriting. If she writes at the speed at which her brain is working her work is bordering on illegible, if she focuses on neat handwriting she only produces a few lines, so either way she is faling short of expectations. It has taken almost 2 years but she has finally been assessed by OT and they have recommended she types instead. Her literacy teacher has taken this on board and she is using an iPad some of the time now. I am hoping this will encourage her to produce more good quality writing.
     
  7. Yes - he has OT support. Just had a session of rebound therapy (looked like trampolining to me). We're just having a battle with school about ensuring appropriate support is available. He is intelligent and articulate but struggles to write quickly and neatly so gets frustrated as it takes so long to produce some writing. But if he was asked to explain what he knew or to describe something verbally, he can do that.
    But school is so b**** writing focussed.

     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My son didn't write until Y6 unfortunately the school didn't consider this a problem because he was/is very articulate
     
  9. The mention of hypermobile joints interests me - I've noticed that just about all the children with weird pencil-grips have what seem to me to be odd index fingers: the first joint can do a 'reverse-bend', making a v-shape the opposite way to the normal bend. One of my daughters has index-finger joints like this and she had great trouble writing neatly despite practice at home, and I've seen it repeatedly with children in school - it's now the first thing I look for if a child isn't using the tripod grip. But I've not seen anything written about it. Anybody any other thoughts on this? I'm still not sure what to suggest for children with fingers like this. I recently had a parent come in and ask me to stop trying to get her (yr 1) child to use a tripod grip because she was getting upset about it at home - she had an extra-bendy index finger.
    Msz's comment about not writing until year 6, but it not being an issue for the school as the child was articulate, is very interesting - was it recently? I wonder whether they'd still be so relaxed, with all the pressure on tracking levels? Hard for class teachers to be patient, even if they know it makes sense, when they've got everyone breathing down their necks!
     
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Not recent so no APP but in the league table era and making good progress in most subjects and slow steady progress in writing ...school had no SEN [​IMG] and three EPs told me not to worry
     
  11. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    I believe the only thing to improve low muscle tone is exercise. Sadly, the bald reality is that those who are starting in a different place is that they have to work harder to end up at the same finishing line, as it were.
     
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    That's what I have and it's passed down to my son. I find writing very difficult and tiring. I can do some amazing things with my fingers ([​IMG]). But put me on a computer and I am fantastic.
    I am trying to encourage my son to learn to type - now that's a challenge in itself. He was always late in his development of motor skills and sports day was...... interesting. But he's getting better and absolutely loves his trampoline. We are working on developing his fine motor skills - he recently coloured in pretty much every sea creature from the Octonauts very neatly because he was motivated and wanted to do a good job. Get him to colour in something else and it's very slapdash. Children!!!

     
  13. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    And there we have it, I suppose. My son hates to write, but loves the computer...but write on the computer? Do what's teacher wants him to do on it? Have yet to see any evidence of that!! Tricky creatures, children. Very tricky. Especially when they have minds (and agendas) of their own...
     

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