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Tip for young gifted kids struggling with writing...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My little one is five and excels at reading. Writing.......not so much. She will do almost anything to delay the process and although the sounds are easy for her,  she really struggles with putting pencil to paper(or chisel to stone as I call it... but I digress) Because she attends public school she must master this skill but tonight I tried a neat trick. Her assignment was to complete some started sentences about herself. Just fill in the blanks and the drama began... I  ran an got the scrabble board and let her "build" the word first and then copy the completed word after she had decoded the letters.  After she had copied the first word, she pointed out all the letters were capitals  so I proceeded to ruin our scrabble game by writing the letters on the back sides of the blocks in lower case. Tomorrow I have to sell the school on this idea...at a conference. Did I mention it was only the first week of school? Send me some positive vibes... we will see how it goes. So looking forward to keyboarding with this one!

post #2 of 15

A lot of 5 yos don't have the dexterity to master handwriting quite yet. Personally, I wouldn't focus on it at home but leave it for a school activity when she will be doing it with a bunch of kids that are equally handicapped by youth. That way she will be comparing her handwriting to theirs rather than yours. Sometimes young kids don't like handwriting because of perfectionism issues. Using a chalkboard or a dry erase board can help because they know they can rub out any marks that they are unhappy with.

 

You can also divorce handwriting skills from spelling and composition. To practice handwriting skills, she can sew, draw, do dot to dots or mazes, work with perler beads or legos. To practice spelling, she can work with scrabble letters or use a keyboard. To work on composition, she can dictate stories to you. Focusing on handwriting, spelling, AND deciding what to say all at once is a bit much for most young kids:-)

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ahh.. yes and all this true for the whole/big picture right brain language learner, like myself, I still use inventive spelling and puctuation all the time;) But I must go with what I have and she is a builder/phonics left brainer who's reading(ability to decode) is fast out pacing her writing(ability to create). Great link here to represent http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/weird/the-right-brain-vs-left-brain/story-e6frev20-1111114577583 I can't keep wiriting out of her ciriculumn the teacher wants it and the joy of expression via inventive spelling is simply sucked out of her writing because she can't get over that the word is not spelled correctly. Some folks are about what the picutre puzzle represents when it its put together and some are about the joy of it's construction. I like to think i"m in the middle but I can't get the gorls to spin any other way but clockwise no matter how long I stare.... 

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

A lot of 5 yos don't have the dexterity to master handwriting quite yet. Personally, I wouldn't focus on it at home but leave it for a school activity when she will be doing it with a bunch of kids that are equally handicapped by youth. That way she will be comparing her handwriting to theirs rather than yours. Sometimes young kids don't like handwriting because of perfectionism issues. Using a chalkboard or a dry erase board can help because they know they can rub out any marks that they are unhappy with.

 

You can also divorce handwriting skills from spelling and composition. To practice handwriting skills, she can sew, draw, do dot to dots or mazes, work with perler beads or legos. To practice spelling, she can work with scrabble letters or use a keyboard. To work on composition, she can dictate stories to you. Focusing on handwriting, spelling, AND deciding what to say all at once is a bit much for most young kids:-)

 

My only thought is that some schools are doing very little handwriting exercises anymore and aren't teaching cursive at all. It's going to fall to parents to help their children develop the skill if they value it (and many don't). 

 

4evermom has made some good suggestions for developing fine motor skills.  I would add games using her thumb and first 2 fingers to use clothespins or tweezers to pick up small items and carry them. It develops the pincer grip. Stringing beads is another good activity. "Pinning out" was a favourite activity for my kid - Pin-pricking around an outline of a picture (use a page from a colouring book) so that the outline is completely perforated and can be removed from the page. 

 

If you search "pre-writing activities" you'll probably find quite a few ideas. 

 

I suggest you also take a look at her core strength and stability. Often core weakness contributes to poor handwriting.  

 

I am wondering how much writing a 5 year old is doing. I agree it's a necessary skill for school (and I'd argue pretty useful in life generally) but wonder a little about the expectations in your child's classroom. 

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Her coloring and abilities do on t indicate theat this is a fine motor issue :) But you are right that would come into play.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie Jones View Post
I like to think i"m in the middle but I can't get the girls to spin any other way but clockwise no matter how long I stare.... 

Ha! Me neither. Nor ds. I'll have to ask dh because I know ds and I think alike and are visual spacial people but dh is not. 

 

I'm just thinking that one shouldn't expect writing to develop at the same pace as reading. Some kids do one first and some do the other...

 

And yes, it might turn out that handwriting, especially cursive, isn't taught much in school. But I wouldn't want to stress it much yet if you are meeting any resistance from dd.

 

Recently, I took out a library book for ds. There were a bunch of post it notes with writing done by a child on it. I was comforted by how terrible the handwriting was because my ds is very resistant to handwriting. Now I'm thinking his lousy handwriting might be on par with some of his schooled peers even though I don't know how old the post it note writer is:-)

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Have you seen most docs handwriting? There is reason for that and it's not lazy:)

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie Jones View Post

My little one is five and excels at reading. Writing.......not so much.

 

I dont think that is terribly unusual. Sometimes they develop concurrently, but often the reading skills are slightly higher (or even very different) than writing.

 

She will do almost anything to delay the process and although the sounds are easy for her,  she really struggles with putting pencil to paper(or chisel to stone as I call it... but I digress) Because she attends public school she must master this skill but tonight I tried a neat trick. Her assignment was to complete some started sentences about herself. Just fill in the blanks and the drama began... I  ran an got the scrabble board and let her "build" the word first and then copy the completed word after she had decoded the letters.  After she had copied the first word, she pointed out all the letters were capitals  so I proceeded to ruin our scrabble game by writing the letters on the back sides of the blocks in lower case. Tomorrow I have to sell the school on this idea...at a conference. Did I mention it was only the first week of school? Send me some positive vibes... we will see how it goes. So looking forward to keyboarding with this one!

 

 

That is a good idea. But the school is unlikely to have the time/resources to spell out each word for your DD. As her desire to write down her ideas-- the written process of copying/writing will get lengthier.

 

They are much more likely to write words on a white board for her to copy as needed, but copywork is MUCH different than the process of formulating words on paper. The school are likely to help to some extent, but they also will want to encourage independent writing skills.

 

She is in K. Most kiddos are still in the same writing process/letter formation. 

 

Reading and writing are totally different skill sets. The fine motor/visual- spatial motor skills needed for writing can develop at a different rate than the visua/auditory aspect of reading.

 

As a different use at home-- instead of scrabble tiles the Dollar Stores often sell complete sets of lower/upper case magnet letters. I even saw packs at Target the other day. Easier to put on a cookie tray and have her manipulate them than sliding, scrabble tiles.

 

You can also practice spelling patterns auditorily.  Do games like " If I spell C-a-t and change the c to a h what is it? If I have the word  'bee' and change the b to an see what do I have? How is it spelled b-e-e     s-e-e.  It will help cement the spelling auditorily as well as scaffold  on known knowledge. Some kids benefit from spelling things outloud as they write.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

You can also divorce handwriting skills from spelling and composition. To practice handwriting skills, she can sew, draw, do dot to dots or mazes, work with perler beads or legos. To practice spelling, she can work with scrabble letters or use a keyboard. To work on composition, she can dictate stories to you. Focusing on handwriting, spelling, AND deciding what to say all at once is a bit much for most young kids:-)

 

Excellent ideas. Spelling skills can be great, but the 'physical act of writing' can be difficult in the same child. It is different skills.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie Jones View Post
 I can't keep wiriting out of her ciriculumn the teacher wants it and the joy of expression via inventive spelling is simply sucked out of her writing because she can't get over that the word is not spelled correctly.
 A lot of K kiddos dont like that their  'writing' does not look like they want it to. It is a developmental curve to be honest. 
 
For kiddos that have perfectionist tendencies, it can be frustrating.
 
Some if it is simply reinforcing the idea that you learn to spell through practice and learning patterns (much like phonic patterns if she is a phonic-learning girl.
 
Does your school use  'Words Their Way'? It is a WONDERFUL spelling/writing integrated program that has kids learn to spell through patterns in words. It also gives kiddos the ability to spell 'new' words when they learn patterns and put them together. Google it and you can actually get some activities at home for your DD if you think it would help.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

My only thought is that some schools are doing very little handwriting exercises anymore and aren't teaching cursive at all. It's going to fall to parents to help their children develop the skill if they value it (and many don't). 

 

 

I suggest you also take a look at her core strength and stability. Often core weakness contributes to poor handwriting.  

 

I am wondering how much writing a 5 year old is doing. I agree it's a necessary skill for school (and I'd argue pretty useful in life generally) but wonder a little about the expectations in your child's classroom. 

 

I agree at exploring the core stability. Often with kids that have writing challenges or a confirmed writing disability, they also have difficultly with core muscles/coordination.

 

At 5. Classroom expectation the first week of school should be simply letters and name. Later in the year short sentences and maybe a short 1 page , few sentence story using inventive spelling and known words.

 

But a bright kiddo may have 'higher' expectations, which leads to frustration. It is seen with a lot of reading kids that want their writing to 'look' like what they can read. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

 

 

And yes, it might turn out that handwriting, especially cursive, isn't taught much in school. But I wouldn't want to stress it much yet if you are meeting any resistance from dd.

 

Cursive is often taught in 3rd grade or so in public schools. Some kids that find print difficult do well with cursive. Others learn that typing is a good solution. Though typing, too, has a learning curve. As adults, we often forget how it takes a while to memorize the order of the keys on the keyboard and also small fingers can have a hard time reaching for keys more than adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OP, I would do some fine motor excercises to increase hand and core strength that will make the physicalness of writing easier.

 

For the spelling-- use  letter tiles, stamps, foam letters, pipe cleaners, etc to build spelling skills separate from the act of writing.

 

Also, allow your DD to dictate some of her ideas (which we did  ALOT of with my DDs) and stories then print them out for her to read. Reading her own words will also help scaffold skills to transfer to writing.

 

If your DD continues to struggle and not meet standard K writing skills- consult the school and see if an OT can look at her and make some school based suggestions.

 

Lot of kids have asychronous development. I have seen on these boards that many young kids find writing a road block in that it does not match their reading/math skills. Writing can be at or even below grade level, when all other skills are above. Which can present unique problems- sometimes something further is going on (written disability) and sometimes it takes time for little hand/body muscles to build skills that were not really needed if a child is not writing previously or if those muscles/visual motor skills are just not developed yet.

 

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think it is more important that kids be able to read multiple fonts than write in cursive. My DH read very early as well. His father was the principal of the school and they still had challanges challanging him.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie Jones View Post

I think it is more important that kids be able to read multiple fonts than write in cursive. My DH read very early as well. His father was the principal of the school and they still had challanges challanging him.

 

I think it is easier to learn to write cursive rather than print, as KCMichigan mentioned. Both of my children learned cursive before they learned to print.  Cursive writing encourages a smooth stroke that is easier to make than a block-y, chopped print letter. There are fewer stops between letters so the grouping into a word is more natural.  If I had a child struggling with handwriting, I'd definitely try cursive, particularly if the child could already read words and was able to copy and understand them.

post #11 of 15

I tried to get my ds interested in cursive by telling him it's a secret grown up code but he isn't as gullible as he used to be, lol.

 

Btw, my dh sees the spinning girl the same way as I do which makes me think it isn't an accurate test since I'm pretty confident one of us isn't in out right brain;-)

post #12 of 15

I was going to suggest post it notes too. My ds will write on them (and stick on every possible surface) all day long.
 

post #13 of 15

A resource that has been really helpful in our house is Handwriting Without Tears -- they have a K curriculum that you could get and do at home.

 

Honestly, in Kindergarten, if all she can do is copy letters, that's fine. They don't really have to begin to write anything resembling a thought out paragraph until 2nd grade. She has all of K to work on letter formation, and all of 1st grade to work on writing sentences and spelling.

 

If she's a perfectionist, I'd really really stress that it doesn't have to be perfect the first time. Bright kids are often reluctant writers because their ideas outstrip their ability to write them down. For longer stuff, it's OK for her to dictate to you now, if she wants to write more.

post #14 of 15

Interesting perspective on cursive and it being easier to acquire for a child that was struggling. I was taught only cursive in the 80s, at the time print wasn't taught at all in our schools. I remember asking the teacher about it and she said that any child ycould pick up print by herself if she ever needed it, but good, fast, legible cursive was more important.

I really like "integrated" approaches like D'nelian script which try to keep the differences between the strokes needed for cursive and the strokes needed for print to a minimum. It wouldn't matter so much then which came first. I always had a hunch the early emphasis on a very blocky, straight print does not help with acquiring handwriting more easily at all

post #15 of 15

My DD is now 9 and was much like your child at age 5.  It will come!  For her, I think it was a muscle/coordination issue and it just took time and practice.  She had a teacher who gave them composition books at the beginning of the year and over the year they filled these books up with word studies, nature sketches, poems, book reports etc.  We didn't push it at home, and she did sometimes get frustrated but is now entering poetry and writing competitions.  

 

Montessori approach teaches cursive before print.  I think it's more natural.  

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