Writing - FamilyEducation
08/04/2009 at 12:06 PM

Hi All,

I have a 7 yr old, who will be starting 3rd grade this fall ( yes, you got it right, he is the youngest in the class). He is very good at Math, and reading he is already at the 4th grade beginners level. The problem is his writing, he just hates it. He knows all the basics of it, the grammar, when to use a period, etc., etc., but just does not have the confidence in doing it. I can not give any constructive criticism, because he will start crying saying,"See I told you I am not good at writing". Having said that I will also say there are days when he writes superbly with all the imagination, but it is may be once in a blue moon.

I want to work this one month left before school starts and help him out with writing,and handwriting to get back his confidence. Any one has the same problem, any suggestions are appreciated.


Hello! Our sons are about the same age. My son has also been the youngest in his classes and struggles with handwriting/writing. He qualifies for gifted in everything else. One thing you may want to consider is why writing is such a struggle. Could it be his eyes, disgraphia, poor hand-eye coordination or motor control, a neurological problem,etc. Some of these things may interfere with his handwriting therefore giving him problems with getting his creative thoughts on paper. I'm not sure how poor your son is doing with his handwriting, but the school can give Occupational Therapy screenings if you request one to help find or rule out problems. I can share from my experience as a teacher and mom that many boys have more problems with handwriting, ADHD can make handwriting harder, and handwriting is tough for many kids in the Autism Spectrum. Cursive writing can be much easier for kids and can make a difference for them with writing and handwriting. Also your son is getting to the age where he can start to learn keyboarding. Try to pick activities with your son where he doesn't really realize that he is practicing his writing... making grocery lists, signs for yard sales, writing in chalk on your sidewalk, writing a postcard while on vacation or a letter to Aunt Sue, etc. Go on some adventures and have him find some bugs and keep a log of the bugs names and where they were found, etc. Have him keep a log of your vacation days or write a letter to someone telling about his adventures or vacation, etc. Give him time to watch a movie or show and ask him to write 3 sentences about it to show you he is remembering what he watched or three sentences about what he read in a book. I think one of the keys is what he is writing about has to be fun and interesting to him, so try to work it with something he loves to do. Good luck. ONly

That sounds like a good plan. There are some things I would avoid. Don't "fix" what he writes for you. Don't go overboard in praising it either. Talk about the ideas he's writing down, not the mechanics of how well he forms letters or makes words and sentences.

I do not think any of the problems you have mentioned are cause for this, may be I am expecting too much. he reads well and then he writes for 10 minutes about what he has read, he would come up with 10 lines. when asked he will come up with all the stuff that he could have written. The teacher kept saying all of the last year that he needs to add more detail to his writing. so that is the issue that I want to handle. yes he started cursive writing and seems to like that too. he just writes fast and ends up making mistakes...which he some times misses while reviewing. the teacher also mentioned what you said, that boys have more handwriting problems than girls....

Three more things I thought of. One thing that was fun that I did was talk to the kids about what all goes on a good hamburger. They would come up with lots of stuff.... lots of details. I in turn used this to talk about the piece of writing that they had completed. I asked them whether it had all the good things in it like a good sandwich would have. One year I even had each child take a hamburger and its parts that I had drawn and they colored it and then we laminated it. They cut the parts of the hamburger up and placed in an envelope. When we did a piece of writing I had them evaluate their piece by showing me their hamburger and the amount of parts on it as it was their piece of writing. It is real good to have kids evaluate their own work. I also had them exchange stories and complete their hamburger based on the piece of writing in front of them and then they shared this with the author of the piece in front of them. Another way I encourage details in writing was to make an organizer that had columns with a box across the top. In the top box would be the topic sentence which contained the main idea about what they were writing. Then in the columns below they would write details about their topic sentence. You could turn this in to one paragraph or expand upon the columns and each of those would become a topic sentence of each paragraph and you would add several more sentences under these sentences. (I hope this makes sense...easier to show then explain.) When writing don't forget to use your senses to work on details to describe something or tell about something. Good luck Only

One thing you said was that your son sometimes writes "superbly". So that tells me he can write if he really puts his mind to it. Is it possible that writing just comes hard to him, and that's why your son doesn't want to put effort into it? I agree that if you find a topic that he really likes or something that he knows much about, he will do better writing about it. One suggestion I have is to look at the work you feel he did "superbly", and ask yourself why. Talk to both your son and his teacher about it. Obviously something clicked for your son when he composed these essays, so maybe you can find a connection and a means to help him that way. I don't know. Cld it be that he just put all his effort into those compositions and not the others? It's possible, but it's also worth looking into further. Another suggestion I have is to get your son a tutor. Maybe a few hrs a wk is all your son needs to build his confidence again. Not everyone is a good writer. I actually have always loved to write, but on the other hand I'm not the best at math. Also, studying often took me a long time. I always felt like I had to work extra hard to do well, I mean really hard. This was exhausting for me, and sometimes it was just easier to give up. Finding the write teacher always helped me. Maybe that's what your son needs. Don't give up on him. Try different methods to get your son feeling better about himself. Maybe if you start out having him write 3 sentence paragraphs, and from there have him gradually build the story one line at a time. Fill him w/ a lot of descriptive language when you speak. Have him read poetry and short stories to give him more knowledge and ideas. There are books and computer programs available that teach creative writing. These are all things that can help. After some time if you still don't see an improvement, you shld get your son evaluated by a dr or therapist. Some people are just not good writers, while others may have an underlying problem that cld be causing their difficulty. If there is a problem, get the school to work w/ you in helping to improve your son's creativity. Let us know how things go. Good luck.