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Late blooming writers ?

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I did not put this in the special needs area because I am hoping to have more people see it..


Our 9 yo has some pretty severe struggles with dysgraphia. I do not mean just the physical act of handwriting, but the entire process of written expression in general.


Since finishing VT for visual processing issues, he has caught up in reading; he is a decent speller; he does fine with grammar exercises; he is doing well with the narrations in WWE2 (he started WWE late due to visual processing difficulties and does WWE2 at a double pace); he is getting better at editing sentences in Daily Language Review; and he was doing very well generating single sentences to go with a picture in the RFP Aesop workbooks until he finished all of them.


This year, in addition to continuing WWE and Daily Language Review, he will start editing paragraphs with Daily Paragraph Editing, and I ordered the Little Red Writing books by Nancy Day for him from Rainbow. My number one goal for this year is to get him writing - to get words coming from his mind and going onto paper or a screen, beyond filling in the answers on worksheets. If he could make great strides in writing this year, he would be pretty much caught up to grade level work. But he has a lot of progress to make for that to happen.


All the fundamentals seem to be in place - the only thing missing is actual written output. I am wondering if anyone else has the experience of a kid who came late to writing, but then suddenly started to write ? He has never been able to write more than two sentences at a time. But last month, out of the blue, he wrote a short story about ninjas that was two pages front and back, completely filled on every line ! It seems that he is just primed for a huge writing breakthrough. Is this how it goes with some kids ? Thank you for any experiences anyone can share.

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No SN here, but when ds was younger, we would write a story together, sentence by sentence. At the beginning, you can even offer to write your son's ideas for him (eventually he can take over his contribution). You do it like this, you write a sentence, then its his turn. Then your turn, etc. The stories come out funny and its a good way to lighten up writing. For writing, you have to get them thinking about what they can say. A way to step up to the writing would be to do the sentence by sentence orally for a bit, then move to you writing down what you both say, then take turns. I will say my ds just graduated from college with an English degree, and he did not like writing in our homeschool. At 9th grade, there was still little writing, then it started picking up.... I laughed when he said he wanted an English degree..... but he did well.


With dd (just graduated high school in our homeschool) it helped to go over literature orally and have discussions. Once she "had her voice" about what she thought about what she read, then she was good to go. She did vision therapy all last year, and I did see a huge leap in understanding of what she read after VT. After all, you do need to understand what you read to write about it. And, she wants an English degree as well.


Ask your ds after he reads something what he thinks about it, whether he likes it, or not, what he thinks about the ending, or if he would rather have a different ending, and why. Sometimes you have to help them get going.

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My older son was a late writer. He was also a late reader. I'll share our experience. :)


We used IEW Student Writing Intensive B around grade 6 and this was the first time I saw him develop complete paragraphs and multi paragraph reports. He did the bare minimum required for the program and after it was over, increased writing did not carry over into other areas of study. He continued with minimal writing for 7th and 8th. For 9th grade (last year) he started taking 2 classes at our ps, Honors Chemistry and Engineering (he had not previously taken classes or even wanted to take classes, be it online, co-ops, etc). He was doing Oak Meadow Grade 9 LA course and WWS at home, both of which went fine. WWS was very easy for him, but I liked how it developed an approach to writing. By mid-year he was spending a fair amount of time thinkingabout his future plans (what is required for college admission, what are credit hours, how does one get scholarships, how competitive are selective schools, etc.) He decided to take 9th grade LA at the public school to see how he performed in a class room setting for his weakest subject, his thinking being that he wanted to find out whether or not he needed help in this area before he started taking classes at the U, which he plans to do for Grade 11. The writing requirement for the class FAR exceeded the Oak Meadow work load. The class started off with a symposium project with ongoing assignments for note taking, analysis, outlines, etc. He was writing almost every day and developed well thought out reports without too much effort. They did take him a long time--probably longer than most kids, but he is this way with most things, very thorough but slow. He consistently scored high 90s and ended up with a 99% in the class. For one writing assignment his teacher commented, "Good Analysis. You should consider Law School." FWIW, this is a pretty high achieving school, top in our state, high test scores, etc. Not to say the ps class is what you might want, or to tout it as desirable, but this is not a mediocre school.


DS does have LD issues of some sort. He was dxed dyslexic/nonverbal LD around age 7. He has an extremely logical way of thinking though and his critical thinking skills have always been impressive. As we homeschooled the younger ages, I felt that his writing skills would fall into place as his reading had. Around age 8 I stopped trying to teach him how to read as it was causing tremendous frustration and he felt terrible about himself. By age 9 he was reading Eragon and other novels of similar length and complexity. I decided he simply did not fit the traditional time line. This has proven to be the case for him over and over again. In elementary, we just could not get any math curriculum done. Then in grade 8 he did pre-algebra and algebra (Saxon) on his own. Grade 9 he did AoPS Geometry and the last half of AoPS intro algebra (the beginning of alg 2). He is also working through parts of a ps Alg 2 book. He is determined to get into precalculus for Grade 10. At the beginning of Grade 8 when he was starting prealgebra, I never would have guessed at this turn of events. In fact, right around then I remember wondering how he would survive in a science career given his issues with math. Now he watches MIT lectures on linear algebra for fun.


So, in our situation, he mostly needed time to grow into the skill'ability. And then, when he was ready, he has found his own way to soar in the areas that previously gave him trouble. I want to add, my kids are very compliant around the house. They do chores, help out on demand, do not fight with each other, etc. But most curriculum resulted in ....ugh, just horrible outcomes. I think they were allergic to the programs. :) Now as teenagers, things have changed SOO much where academics are concerned. And, they are not ridiculously behind or ill equipped. They have absorbed massive amounts of information and thought about it in varying way through family discussions and projects, etc. Now they are old enough to do the written output and to do it without the same struggles they faced earlier. Both of my kids had similar problems, but they were more pronounced in older child (my younger son was reading around age 4, but he still wasn't big on the reading, etc.)


Sooo, in conclusion, I'd encourage you not to worry too much. Nine is still so very young. There is plenty of time for the skills to develop and you are doing a great job providing opportunities for his growth. If things get frustrating, step back and take a breather.

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My DD is younger (8 YR) so I can't help you with a story of late blooming (we're still trying to bloom). But we do try to give her opportunities to write (without correcting her spelling) and anything she wants. Usually it involves stories or cartoons and captions that she finds amusing.


Would he respond well to creative writing exercises? Cut an interesting picture out of a magazine or print one off the internet. Have him write a story that explains the picture.


Make up an interesting character and ask your DS to make up a story about him/her.


Take a Sunday cartoon and cover over the caption and have him make up his own.


"It was a dark and stormy night...."


Cut out words from magazine or use the refrigerator words. Put them into poems or funny sentences.


But the key on these types of things is that it must spark his interest and compels him to write based on his own motivation.

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My son had a hard time getting his thoughts down on paper. I think around age 10 is when he finally could write three or four sentences of his own. He went through the whole "using a tape recorder" technique - speaking into it, then taking dictation from the tape recorder, one phrase at a time. But he eventually was able to eliminate using the recorder. After he was comfortable writing a short paragraph to summarize reading; he learned to type, and took off after that.


It sounds to me as if your son is doing just fine for his age.

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Our experience is similar to the PP's. Sorry - it's long...I'm a person that can only tell a story by using too many words!:tongue_smilie:


Dd was homeschooled since Pre. When she was 7 someone told me that with the amount of effort I was putting in to teaching her to read, there must be some problem because she hadn't 'got it' yet. That was reassuring to me, because I had thought I was doing something wrong. We took her for testing, and she had dyslexia. I had hardly heard of it before this, so it wasn't on my radar. Both she & I were thrilled that there was some reason for her not getting it. At that point I gave up teaching her to read. All schoolwork was done verbally - she would write the odd word if she felt like it, but otherwise it was all verbal. She had a great brain that really bloomed when the pressure of reading was off.


From age 9 or so, she would pick out a book from the library, and would try to read it, but mostly return it with only a sentence or two read haltingly.


At age 10 she got her own horse, and promptly borrowed a horse book from the library. I think it was a Saddle Club book with about 90 or so pages. She read the first few sentences to me, and the next morning she said she had read the whole page! Over the next few days, she read more and more, and within 2 weeks, she had read the whole book! It was almost miraculous. Those early years of learning were still in her mind, and it just needed time to make it all click! From then she read, and read, and read. By age 11 she was loving reading classics like Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice.


But she still wasn't writing. At this stage, she could read her own lesson, and answer them verbally. I learned from the reading thing, to let the writing be at her own pace, too. I would ask her to add items to the shopping list, and she would either spell them terribly, or ask me how to spell them. Also at this stage, we started with Apples and Pears spelling books (a big love of mine!), which gave her confidence, because it's structured that success in each lesson is extremely likely. Every so often she would write her daddy a nice little love note & put under his pillow. There was no formal pressure to write, just calm encouragement, and matter of fact spelling help when she decided to write anything.


By about age 13, I would ask her to write a sentence for one or two of her lessons. This was a struggle at first, but came a bit easier. I think that took almost a year to become quite do-able.


Then age 13.5 she said she wanted to go to PS! Outwardly I was calm, but inwardly panicking! I knew that intellectually she was capable of the work, but not the writing side. My other girls had gone to PS around the same age, and were in the top classes, so having an understanding of what level that was, I knew youngest would be capable. For the 2 months notice I had, I really just wanted to get her more practiced in the physical side of writing. I would get her copying from a book, so that there was no pressure to get her own thoughts onto paper, or worrying about spelling. This was very helpful, but her writing was still slow.


When enrolling her in school, I asked for her to be put into the top classes, but asked if they could make allowances for her dysgraphia. They were very accommodating, and they allowed her to take home copies of the notes, instead of taking her own. In exams they allowed her extra time to complete. I helped her at home with her assignments by editing and checking spelling, punctuation, etc of her work. It was a bit of stress for her, but she's a determined girl, and she soon got more practiced in writing.


She came to love writing creative stories, tolerate essays easily, and be generally quite capable of writing whatever she needed to.


Then 3 months ago at 15.5yo, she left school, and enrolled in Open University (no pre-requisites, and min. age of 11!), to begin Bachelor of Science (Applied Sciences) by online learning. She recently went to Melbourne for a week-long practical unit, and did really well. She has, for a year or two now, decided that she wants to do Medicine, so this is the stepping stone to that.


I'm so proud of my DD, that after a late start....reading at 10, writing at 13, she has started university studies at 15.5. I'm not writing this to brag (but that's kinda fun!;) ), only to give others hope that their late-bloomers, may be very fast bloomers when they start!


All that said - spelling is still not her strong suit, but she is aware of that and constantly works on it. She still writes a little slower, but fast enough for everything she needs to do.


Hope this helps!


ETA: In your case, yes, it seems your son is on the verge of writing....and in my own experience, I wouldn't push any more than he wants to do himself. I think the year that you are allowing, will serve to see him writing himself, without any need of too much from your side. Just go with what he needs, help out with grammar, spelling etc, if he is receptive to it. It sounds like you and he are doing just fine!!

Edited by Isabella
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My 9yo struggles with SPD and dysgraphia. He is no where close to where yours is. He does not yet write complete sentences on his own. We are about to start WWE2 next week. I'm kind of dreading it. I'm hopeful we can do all of it in 3 weeks. It's going to be challenging.

He has always been an all at once kind of kid. He could walk at 7 months but refused until he was 13 months. He could read at 6, but wouldn't read any books until a few months ago. Now he reads all the time. I suspect writing will be the same way. He may never write stories for fun, but I have no doubt that he will be a competent writer someday, when he's ready.

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I never really thought of our dd as a late bloomer, but maybe she was in the writing department. She could always speak such lovely sentences, so I saw the potential, but early on her actual sentences fell flat. She also tired easily, so I limited the amount of writing that she did in any given day. If I wanted her to concentrate on writing a few sentences, then I might have her spell words aloud during spelling class or let her do half of her math problems by herself and the other half I would write the answers for her. Her vocabulary was excellent. Her grammar was fine. Her sentences were short. Part of the reason was that she used words in her speech that she didn't know how to spell yet and the sentences that she spoke were too long. She really did not want to write that whole thing, so she would shorten it so much that she would be discouraged with the final product.


The first time she wrote a story all on her own for fun was also at age 9. She was so thrilled with it. I was also thrilled. :) Somehow she must have gained more strength or endurance in her hands about that time. And soon after this she began typing. That changed her ability to write also. Typing is easier on the muscles, plus her speed picked up quickly. It was faster!


She is now a Professional Writing major and does a great job on her papers and her own fiction writing. She draws a lot, but somehow handwriting is still more tiring. She has to write long essay type tests in a few classes. She does a good job, but she says her hand does cramp up. I suppose that is not too uncommon at this age. Though I think she still tires more easily than many might, it doesn't get in her way.


I am excited with both of you for his first "real" story. Who wouldn't love a good ninja story?!

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