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6th grade writing help

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I have been asked to tutor a young girl, who is in 6th grade at PS. Today I asked her to read the chapter on Alexander the Great, that is the Story of the World Vol 1. It is 7 pages long and it took her 45 mins to read it. Is it me, or is that quite a long time to read such a short amount of pages?


When she had finished reading, I asked her some questions about the chapter, and then asked her to write down what we had talked about. Now writing is not my strong point, but I know that this is not good writing. I have left all spelling and punctuation as she wrote it.


Alexander The Great


Alexander the great,


Alexander means Ruler of men, so they say he was a great Ruler of men. One day king phiip (Alexanders father) was looking for a warhorse and found one but said it was to wild and he could not tame it, Alexander said he could so they made a deal and Philip said he would buy it if Alex could tame it, so he did.

The when Philip died Alexander became king he said he had a bigger goal then his dad that was to rule empire and he acommplesed but Alexander wanted to rule Persia so he did but the Alexander died age 33 no one knows why but one thing is he was posion the also thought he had malaria a fever from a mosquitoes



Please, please tell me how I can help this girl.

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Since your heading says that you need help with writing, I think I would RUN to the bookstore and purchase R&S English 5 as soon as possible! This girls needs help with grammar, and as she learns those fundamentals with R&S she'll also learn composition. It isn't a quick fix, but well worth the time because it would be thorough.


:D Best of luck!




Edited by HSMom2One
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I would start with copywork, and she would need to do it every day, perfectly. That would gradually get her in the habit of reasonable punctuation and capitalization.


I would discuss stories with her regularly. So, for instance I would talk about Alexander the Great after we each read it. What struck you about him? What was the most important accomplishment that he did? What legacy does he leave behind? After we did that for several stories, I'd start delving deeper. What is the most important piece of information in this section? In this paragraph? Why do you think that this is more important than that?


I would probably alternate between history and literature in these readings and discussion, and use the logic stage questions in TWTM for the literature.


After she had been doing copywork every day for about a week, I would add (not replace it with) Editor in Chief--the easiest volume.

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Have her do the narration sentence by sentence before she writes it down.


1. She reads the material to herself

2. You ask her questions to check understanding and lead her to a complete, accurate narration

3. Give her a pencil and paper and ask her to tell you what her first sentence will be.

4. After she tells you, verbally help her correct it if it's incomplete or run on. Remind her what a sentence is - a complete thought with a subject (a part that names) and a predicate (the part that tell what happened).

5. Once she can verbalize a complete sentence that makes sense within the context of the narration, let her write it down.

6. Lather, rinse, repeat for every single sentence she writes.


She needs to start thinking sentence by sentence - thought by thought.

Edited by Stacy in NJ
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I agree that she needs step-by step handholding. She needs to get the thoughts in her brain on paper, and verbalizing them to you first is important. However, I recommend R&S Grammar 4, because R&S 5 would probably be too challenging for her.


It looks like she is struggling with spelling, too. You will need to help her with this bit by bit, perhaps by keeping a list of words she's missed and looking for phonetic patterns. You could then make very short lessons on words that are of a similar type. Eventually she could keep her own spelling/vocabulary notebook. Be careful, though. It would be better tries to use a richer vocabulary and misspells than if she plays it safe and only uses short words.


Copywork is very important, too. Work from that up to dictation. SWB has a good video on Youtube that shows how she did dictation with her son.


If you want some inspiration and direction about writing, SWB's three writing and one literature mp3 downloads are well worth listening to.


Blessings to you for trying to help this girl,


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Some public school children haven't been trained in the art of concentrating while reading and many tend to sort of "fly away" or doze off, and sort of have to keep coming back to the story mentally. Some children don't do well reading silently. I for one, still find myself mouthing words in order to hear them, I tend to do better with a mix of reading and hearing myself read outloud, a mix of visual and auditory. I don't do it all the time, but I tend to find that when I really need to concentrate, this helps me to better absorb the materials.


I think the advice to get the Rod and Staff 4 is great, and I would also add Spelling Plus Dictation, to bring her up to level in spelling in an easier non-threatening way (you know, not another workbook). You could easily go through the lists to sort of gauge where she is at and start 4-8 dictation sentences daily from there. This will teach her to be alert to her own errors and also help tremendously with punctuation. It's also a very easy way to introduce dictation.




Dee :)

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