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  1. #1
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    Default Writing help for 11 year old.

    Writing help for 11 year old.
    I am looking for any advice on this writing sample. He is 11 and I just do not know how to help him. I asked last year for writing curriculum suggestions and tried IEW. We found watching the videos were difficult for us with computer issues.

    He is still having letter reversals and I think it should have stopped by now. He still does not get spaces between words and capital and lowercase letters.

    I really need suggestions on what I could do to help him with this? Is it my teaching? Maybe wrong curriculum so far? Open to any suggestions please.

    Thank you.
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  3. #2

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    Writing help for 11 year old.
    I feel your pain, really I do!
    When my son handwrites, the quality of work is down the toilet, and he just seems uninterested in improving. His typed work is a bit better.
    I get really discouraged when I google for comparative writing samples for 5th and 6th graders.
    His coloring and crafting is also abysmal, pretty much on par with my 5yo, who we know has fine motor skill issues.
    I threatened mine with public school if he did not start indenting paragraphs, which seems to have worked to overcome that hurdle, at least.

    I feel theres something Im missing thats not a curriculum. Other kids just seem to implement the rules better.
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    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  4. #3

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    Is this primarily an issue with handwriting or his ability to compose something?

    Handwriting is a separate skill and just requires practice. If he can compose just fine, you may want to consider letting him learn how to type.

    Has he tried to compose using another method, such as making a video or dictating?
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  5. #4
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    When he is given a topic about something he enjoys then I feel like there is no issue in composing something. However, when I tell him to write it down or put it into a sentence then he begins to feel overwhelmed by the idea. If he is just given a topic and told to create a paragraph about it then he just cannot come up with anything.

    He needs a large amount of help with even creating a topic sentence for the paragraph. He has not tried to compose something using other methods, because I have just been trying to have him practice more and more on his handwriting skill.

  6. #5

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    You may want to separate handwriting with composing. You can have him do copy work to practice the handwriting aspect.

    For composing you can have him save an audio or video recording on the computer or tablet. Have him dictate what he wants to say to you and you can write it down. Or encourage him to learn to type.

    These methods will enable him to focus on the actual composing and not worry about the physical act of writing, which for some kids can be a hinderance to composing.

    I encourage my 9yo to do the same thing and I even do it when I teach college for those who have real difficulty with writing. It works for all ages.
    Last edited by Mariam; 09-02-2017 at 02:35 PM. Reason: typos!
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  7. #6

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    First, a question... have you homeschooled him all the way through? You say you used IEW last year and it was a bust for technical reasons, but what about before that? I think this is key because if you've been instructing him in handwriting, spelling, mechanics, and composition in various ways since he was young and this is where he is now as a middle schooler, then I think there's probably enough cause to be worried enough to get an evaluation done. If you only really started doing formal instruction last year and it was sporadic, then that's a different kettle of fish. The reversals is concerning, but if the greater context is that you're really only starting out, then it's one concerning thing with a kid who is behind but hasn't really had a chance to catch up yet naturally and may be fine.

    Second, do you think IEW is the right style for him but the technical issues meant it won't work for you or do you think it was just all wrong in general? IEW is a great program in many ways - it's not my own cup of tea, but many people love it and it breaks down writing into very clear, discrete chunks for kids. Some kids really need that. Do you think that's what he needs or do you think he needs something more holistic like Brave Writer?

    I strongly second the great advice from Mariam to break the two tasks of writing up for them. This is the age that for most kids you want to be joining them together more completely, but he's obviously not ready. Have him use dictation software to do original writing. Use copywork or other similar methods to practice the physical act of writing. I would also, at this age, add in typing right now. There are free programs to get you started online, like Dance Mat Typing, and you can go from there and get something more if he needs it.

    I think, looking at this, that he's not ready for things like topic sentences yet. You need to get to the more basic level of getting the words out. This is why separating the two tasks - physical writing vs. composing - is so good. I would also say to be sure to have assignments for that original composing aloud - aka, narration - to be specific and grounded at first in things like something he just read or did or something he's already an expert on. You want to see how well he can compose ideas - not how well he can bring together new information.

    Good luck.
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  8. #7

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    Looks a lot like what my 12 year old is doing. For the letter reversal...get an eye exam done by a developmental optometrist. Vision therapy may help.

    On the advice of a friend....I just this week got Pattern Based Writing. Sounds like the author breaks things down farther than IEW (Which my son liked, and I didn't, but I did have a friend teaching it, so that helped for that year.)

    We are still in the first couple of lessons and I have learned that I have not taught my son how to copy by putting his finger on the word (left hand) and writing with his right. So...he is practicing that. It is a skill he needs for note taking in the future. If he can get past that, I think he will do well with it, it looks like an "Ah-ha!" type of program, as in, me saying that, as it breaks things down just a little more than I saw with IEW. And no videos. But, we will review it when done....I hope it lives up to the hype...but only $40 so not a huge deal.

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Writing help for 11 year old.