I'm really struggling trying to get my 9 year old daughter to do any writing. She is very practical and fact based - loves workbooks with fill in the blanks, loves work where she follows exact instructions. Any writing activity that I do with her causes her huge stress - she gets upset and digs in her heels - she really feels that she can't do it, that she has no ideas. At this point I'm just doing paragraphs - starting with a writing prompt and asking her a list of questions to answer and taking those answers and forming them into a paragraph. I try to do factual and not too imaginative, as that stresses her more. When I do finally get her to reluctantly follow through, her writing is fine. I'm trying to really gently push herself a little.
Any suggestions? She seems to respond a little better to things that I'm not creating myself (she loves the expert lol - she refused to accept any advice from me about her piano lessons until I started conducting a choir and saw that other people respected my expertice and then suddenly she decided I knew what I was doing :) ). I've looked at lots of writing programs, but they seem so involved and lengthy and I've looked at workbooks that just don't cut it.
My advice: start with a graphic organizer, so she isn't sitting there wondering what comes next. Start with a topic in a circle, with lines (3-5) coming out from the circle where the detail points will go. as a random example:
queen lays eggs
polinate flowers Bees live in a hive
communicate with dance
Now, the details are there to create the paragraph. THe same process works when you are ready to expand to the 3 or 5 paragraph essay when she's older. creating the graphic organizer can be one day's work, with making it into the paragraph the next day's work, so it isn't so much all at once.
From my time as a teacher, I found that the kids were more willing to write about "your favorite such and such" but their writing was much better and better organized when working with a non-fiction topic.
Should have mentioned - we do that. It's the coming up with ideas to support the topic that she struggles with.
Try explaining that you just want (OK), then she will get help and then make it better. Just OK writing, at first.
Did she do much copy work before she began to write . You can also get her to tell you or record herself verbally describing something, then convert that to writing. How about writing a letter to grandparent.
Hope it gets better.
Jody [Admin Note: Link removed as promotional posting of commerical sites is not permitted.]
How much does she read for enjoyment? I ask because reading helps with writing. If she is reading a lot but is not yet interested in structured writing much maybe she can begin informal journaling to loosen up her brain. She may enjoy writing about herself and her world. I think it is better to start with a subject matter she has a deep knowledge about, whatever that may be.
I'm not sure what is available for 9yo, but I remember newspapers would take on high school journalists as apprentices of sorts. It was a high honor for students. I am behind several decades-- I have no idea what is available to kids anymore!
Science writing, like for field guides and such.
Facts, facts, facts. But this still assumes that there is already some interest in writing.
I highly recommend Writing with Ease for reluctant writers. My DS struggled BIG time for years and I tried many methods (and love to write myself), and found it to be structured in an accessable way and 3 years later we are almost finished with the program and it WORKS! Plus it is affordable... Another positive is that the writer just published the next series so that we can continue it through middle school. Good luck!
Thanks everyone for the helpful posts. I think we'll just work away at it slowly, very prescribed writing in areas that interest her and slowly build up her confidence. I just needed to remind myself to slow down and let her do it in her own time.
I just bought this software that may meet your needs: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Company-Storybook-Weaver-Deluxe/dp/0763016179/ref=sr_1_2?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1363068031&sr=1-2&keywords=storybook+weaver+deluxe
There are a couple versions of this, the one with the largest number of reviews is a version that worked on Windows 3.1 so it probably won't work on your computer. However, it lets you know what people think of the program. You can read those reviews at:http://www.amazon.com/The-Learning-Company-SBW3744BE-Storybook/dp/B00002S8OY/ref=sr_1_3?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1363068150&sr=1-3&keywords=storybook+weaver+deluxe
This review tells you how to make it work with Windows 7 if you have problems: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1QD6RR39KQC9G/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0005MYI4W&nodeID=&store=miscellaneous