Friday, September 9, 2011

Reluctant Writers

Due to the importance of writing during the college years it is important to nip this in the bud before the high school years. However, if not take plenty of time to work hard on this issue during the freshman year allowing the student the next three years to improve.

This is not an easy task Brett, age 12, squirms at any writing assignment no matter how short and easy it is. It is not that he can not find the words he just does not like to put them down. I even encouraged him to type up his assignments on the computer and this did not help either. However, one thing he did like was spouting off words to me as I typed. He also liked hearing it read back to him and would proudly stick his chest out at his choice of words. This my child who in the past has slept with both a dictionary and a thesaurus, so he knows words and meanings I had no idea existed. So, here is the child with all this potential, but does not like to write.

It is time now for him to start writing essays, he is not happy. Taking it slow is the best way I have found for Brett little pieces at a time. I'm not even tackling the editing process at this point, I want to get him writing first. The biggest thing is to let them have a chose about what they write this helps greatly. Who cares if it is silly and pointless. The main thing is to get the ideas out and have them presented in an orderly fashion.

If the student decides to write about two psychotic hippos, fine, but the ideas have to flow smoothly. Start with the brain storming process, this is normally found as a fun thing to do as ideas can flow freely. The next day working on the formatting of the ideas for the essay. Students need to decide what are the main points they want to make about the psychotic hippos. The next day the student should be ready to write the first paragraph. Continue with the process until the essay is complete. Reluctant writers need someone to hold their hand, so make sure you can set aside some time to aid the student in the process. This will take a lot of coaching, praise and encouragement on your part. Yes, he did chose to write about two psychotic hippos.

However, there are students who just can not write at all for whatever reason. It is this student that really needs to be focused on and have you available to them during writing assignments. If your child has a special need I encourage you to do some research on that topic along with attaching the word writing to it. There are many web sites and blogs which discuss topics such as these. There are also a variety of message boards with special need forums as well.

The Homeschool Diner has a wonderful article on this topic called "Homeschooling Reluctant Writers and Children Who Hate to Write."

Every student is different try different tactics and methods to see which one/ones your student responses best to. You may have to take more than one day for one paragraph, that's OK remember the goal is to have them writing before college.

I have included some links to various articles on this topic I pray they are helpful to you and your student. Remember if something does not work don't get discouraged try something else and always talk with your student and get ideas and opinions from them.

Strategies for the Reluctant Writer

Tips for Parents: The Reluctant Writer this article discusses the gifted child, while this article is mainly geared towards the struggles of writing non-fiction verses fiction there is helpful information which can be applied to all students struggling with writing.

Encouraging the Reluctant Writer from Home of The Matter blog

Creative Writing Prompts while my boys are not big fans of these there are some unusual ones here.

Persuasive Writing Prompts

10 blocks to becoming a writer They trip many kids who aren't LD

Well-built writing prompts Consider process as well as product

In Our Write Minds College Prep writing for high school students

I will be blogging on Education Jump-Off on this same topic, only ways to possibly prevent it and make it fun from early on.

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