Deborah Gaskill
Deborah Gaskill , Caregiver, Parent asks:

How can we get our 10 yr old son to like writing?

Our son Robert is a very intelligent boy. But, he gives us so many problems when he has to write an essay, paragraph etc. We have try ed the reward and take away system. How do we get him to except this as one of the things he has to do the rest of his life and like doing it?

Thank you,
In Topics: Helping my child with writing
> 60 days ago



Sylvia HS
Mar 15, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Deborah,

In my work as a Reading Specialist in a public school system, I've seen a number of children who feel the same way as your son.  Immediately, I look for reasons for this.  Does the student have difficulties with printing/handwriting?  Does the student have ideas in his/her head, but can't write them down very easily?  Does the student have difficulties with spelling and not want to put things down on paper if they aren't spelled correctly?  These kinds of questions.

If your son, Robert, has difficulties with the fine-motor control required for printing/handwriting, then I suggest that you have him assessed by an Occupational Therapist.  They can give your son, yourself, and your son's teacher valuable information for strengthening the fine muscles of his hand, using an effective pencil grip, using certain kinds of lined paper, learning keyboarding, etc.

If your son has lots of ideas in his head but doesn't know how to write them down very easily, then I suggest that you try the following techniques.

 You could be his scribe.  He would do the research on the topic and when he says he's ready, he could tell you what he knows and you could write it down for him.  After it's written down, then you and he could edit it.  You might write the main body of the essay/report, and he could write the opening paragraph and the conclusion.

Or, you could do "paired writing".  You and he would take turns writing.  You could each write one sentence in turn.  Or, you could write several sentences on one aspect of the topic, and he could write several sentences, or a paragraph, on another aspect of the topic.  I've found this technique to be very successful in building up the confidence of reluctant writers.  Gradually, you could write less and he could write more.  He would decide how much he wanted to write the first time you do this together.  And then gradually, you could encourage him to write more.  This technique takes the pressure of writing everything off of your son.

If he has spelling difficulties, then you could tell him the correct spelling of any word he doesn't know.  Or, he could circle any words he doesn't know how to spell, and you could help him fix those words afterwards.  We don't want children to be stopped in their creativity, by not knowing how to spell certain words.  Their thinking is usually at a higher level than their spelling.

Another technique that I've found very helpful is to have students sketch their story/essay/report ideas in an organized drawing before they write about it.  The sketch shows all of their thinking.  In fact, they do all of their thinking before they write.  Then the task of actually printing/handwriting is really shortened up for them and they find it much easier.

I hope that these ideas will be helpful to you and to your son.

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