“Every writer I know has trouble writing” – Joseph Heller
Ahhh….writing….the Big Kahuna! I can’t tell you how many students struggle with writing and it can be for a variety of reasons or a bunch of reasons simultaneously. Either way, hear me when I say to you that your child is not the only one struggling in this area.
A list of cognitive processes that writing requires simultaneously :
• hand-eye coordination
• executive functioning
• memory (refer to the previous blog about types of memory)
• spatial intelligence
• abstract thought
So ultimately, if any of these break down, written language breaks down.
To find out more, or what part is breaking down, you can request an evaluation. However, the best thing to do when practicing writing is to break it down so far that the child is only focusing on the “written expression” part.
1. Don’t worry about spelling while writing!
– I can’t stress this enough! Take spelling completely out of it. You can tell them how to spell the words or use best-guess spelling, or
– Can use speech-to-text if they need to.
2. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pre-write/brainstorm ideas (“brain dump”) so it can be organized before writing.
(I tell my students, “this is where all the thinking is done! Then, after this part, all you have to do is form sentences because you’ve already done all the thinking!”)
3. We don’t write the way we talk.
This is a hard one for kids. Eventually, they learn writing voice and how it’s different than our verbal voice.
4. Editing Strategy in place:
Can use “COPS” which stands for:
Overall appearance (indents, starting at the red line, etc.)
Writing Rubric – can check off to make sure all parts are included
Males have a higher rate of writing challenges than females. Researchers of the brain have found that while writing, the left side of the brain lights up in males. In females, however, BOTH sides of the brain light up. This is rather interesting and suggests a level of understanding challenges that males may exhibit over females when it comes to writing.
I’m attaching a link to the “big book of graphic organizers”. Graphic organizers are a great place to start with your child!