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Spelling- Writing issues

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#1 struppy04

Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

My DS has just completed Year 2 ( in NSW). I am a bit worried about his writing and spelling skills. I had a chat with his teacher in the past and she pointed out that he was not using descriptive language and that his spelling was often poor. He however did very well at the weekly spelling test and got most of his 30 words right. But he obviously cannot retain this knowledge when it comes to writing weekend news etc.

His reports describes his writing as basic ( not surprisingly!). His reading is sound.

The teacher never approached me about tutoring etc although quite a few kids needed additional help in his year. I am still worried that he might continue his habits and might get difficulties down the track.

My son is quite easy-going, sporty and unfortunately not so much into reading.

Again I do not expect him to be top of his class but I want him to be able to express him appropriately.

Has anyone done tutoring to improve writing/spelling? Has it helped your kid?
Many thanks

#2 JKTMum

Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Does he have trouble with his actual handwriting (ie messy, problems forming letters correctly, issues with fine motor skills)? If so I'd look at getting an OT assessment to see if anything needs addressing.

If handwriting is not an issue and it's more content, maybe allowing him to use the computer to do a short story every day (sometimes more appealing than having to pick up a pencil, or use a portable whiteboard something where mistakes can be easily erased and corrected). Start off slowly, just ask for a couple of sentences about what you did each day or what he would like to do tomorrow (ask him to use his imagination and come up with some fantasy stuff that he knows you couldnt do, but just for fun) and then get him to read them back to you. Maybe get a children's thesauras and come up with other words he could use instead of the simple words he has. Make a game out of it and see how many different words he can come up with.

Does he have a particular TV show / Movie or PC game he is interested in, maybe he could come up with a plot for a future episode? Or a story about the sports he likes to play. DS was a reluctant writer (both handwriting issues and content). He loved Pokemon so his teacher got him writing stories about Pokemon. You have to be careful though that the topic doesnt totally take over, DS had to be encouraged after awhile to branch out as every single story was about Pokemon for quite awhile.  rolleyes.gif

I was clearing out some old workbooks yesterday and one of DS's teachers in primary school had them doing a simple sentence (I went to karate), then write the same sentence but add in one describing word, then write the same sentence but add in a conjunction etc so they could see the sentence grow from a very basic, simple sentence to a very complex one which conveyed a whole story to the reader. It wasnt so overwhelming then for them, they could see how just adding in one thing each time could really improve the meaning of the sentence.

#3 unicycle

Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

High horse: spelling tests teach us to spell correctly for spelling tests. Life is full of spelling tests. ( not)
Off high horse: a couple of questions. Are the words on his spelling tests generated from words he has used in writing incorrectly, or do they come from a generic list of words which the teacher would like him to know how to spell? I'll help more specifically once we know this.
Next, when she states he doesn't use descriptive words, does she mean he isn't filling his passages ( just had a lovely visual there) with adjectives? If so, relax. That flowery style is beloved by many, but not all and isn't the be - all -And - end- all.
Or does he need help fleshing out ideas for stories? Maybe time for planning an outline is required, with a teacher conference to help generate ideas.
At home, I would focus on getting the story out on paper, editing it with him for ideas: where could we make the story more interesting etc. and looking at punctuation for clarity of meaning, doing it with him and discussing where you are confused.
Finally, at the end stage, I would then be looking at spelling and focussing on a few areas. Try to avoid doing this during the process unless he asks, or if his spelling is impossible to decipher. You could then  at the late editing stage, focus on
Common words he frequently misspells and less  common words that crop up frequently in the story. Then let him go through and change those.
At his age, I would try to encourage a love of story- telling through writing, rather than on excellent spelling. I would also be reluctant to focus on spelling tests at this stage if he is unable to later use the words correctly in context. This is time that could be better spent on the above suggestions.
Hope this helps

#4 José

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

Does he use descriptive language when talking? Maybe work on expanding his vocab through reading and conversation. Can also build vocab through his writing e.g. it was wet. Take the word Wet and discuss alternatives at different ends of the scale from damp to saturated. Can do the same for many words e.g. happy could be ecstatic. Perhaps he could pretend to be a sports commentator to develop language. Instead of saying it's a good goal what other words could be used.

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