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Early writing programs

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I see many writing specific programs that start at what appears to be upper elementary with paragraph writing. Where are the programs I am missing that would come before these, teaching how to write sentences? What teaches sentence structure, building stamina for the writing process, other early writing instruction that leads to paragraph writing?

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Are you dealing with a physical difficulty getting it out or a language delay or an attention/EF kind of issue? What is the larger context of the difficulty?

If you just want a workbook for sentences, sure there's stuff by major publishers (Scholastic, Evan Moor, etc.) with titles like How to Write a Super Sentence. 

https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/024821  Here's one I was just looking at after googling that I think my ds might be ready to do soon. I think I found it as a pdf online too. https://www.amazon.com/Evan-Moor-Sentence-Workbook-Teachers-Supplement/dp/1557996067  Here's another (and more to rabbit trail) that are on writing sentences.

You want stamina as in the physical act of handwriting? I don't know, my ds has SLDs and his issues, and for him he conversation is more like keeping the tasks comfortable and in reach so he can stay calm and do them. Stamina would be more like a more typical dc who can do the task but just needs to do it more and more to build that skill and ease. If the task is actual hard and at instructional level, that's different.

If the dc has more specific difficulties that you know of, for instance ADHD, maybe add that to the mix and let us toss you ideas. Sometimes they need to work on visualization and describing. You can look up Verbalizing and Visualizing and see how that rolls and see if the dc could do that easily. You're just wanting to back up and see where the glitch is. Some kids need more help with working memory to hold all these thoughts in their head. My dd, with her ADHD, needed a lot of time to herself to get it out because it was just HARD. We also did metronome work to build working memory and the ability to motor plan. Some kids will blossom as they learn to type or when they begin with dictation software. I'm kind of all of the above on that. If using some tech makes one component easier, I would do that while you keep working on the rest.

How does the dc do with narration? Picture narration? Like a lot of people will do picture studies for art when they dc are younger. How does the dc do with that? Depending on where the dc is for narrative language, you might want to be backing up and looking at something like Story Grammar Marker. They're going to teach narrative structures and then carry them over to narrative writing.

Fwiw, with my ds I had to back WAY up, actually working on the individual meanings of words. But he has autism and a language disability, sigh, so that was what we needed to do. That's why I'm just saying figure out where the glitch is. How does he do with grammar? Can he repeat sentences or do memorization like of poetry or Bible verses? Ability to repeat a sentence is a quick measure of language, so glitches like that would tell you something. You're trying to figure out if it's a language issue or more of an attention issue (ability to hold all those thoughts and organize them and get them out) or what.

If he's at a level where he can do a basic narrative (retell the chapter you read him or what he did for the day or about his favorite book or movie), then Writing Tales 1 and 2 are phenomenal. They tell the narratives and then work at the sentence level, bringing grammar into the writing process, learning how to be more thoughtful about their sentences. For a dc without a language disability, it could be a really good starting point. It's similar to IEW in some ways, but more creative. LOVE Writing Tales.

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Killgallon's Sentence Composing for Elementary School gives practice in this.

Michael Clay Thompson's Sentence Island gives a "big-picture" idea of what makes a good sentence, but it doesn't really give the kid practice or the parent guidance.

Or ... you could take the path of Narration.  Make sure your child can first give excellent oral narrations.  Karen Glass's book Know and Tell is an excellent resource for this.  

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Writing with Ease

It begins with short, one-sentence copy work to build writing stamina and start inculcating proper capitalization and punctuation.  At the same time, it works on producing one sentence narrations that the parent transcribes.

In level 2 it begins integrating the writing skills by having the student narrate 2-3 sentences to the parent, and then writing one of the sentences through dictation (or I have done studied dictation or even copywork for this stage if the child is not yet ready for straight dictation).

Wendy

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Wendyroo, what do you mean by "studied dictation."  I have two children that struggle with dyslexia, my ds has an extreme version of dyslexia and I think that writing from dictation would be difficult for them.  Because just spelling each word out is work.

 

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6 hours ago, Etta said:

Wendyroo, what do you mean by "studied dictation."  I have two children that struggle with dyslexia, my ds has an extreme version of dyslexia and I think that writing from dictation would be difficult for them.  Because just spelling each word out is work.

 

Studied dictation is an intermediary step between copywork and dictation.  How I use it with WWE:  After the child narrates their sentences and I write them down, then I choose which sentence they will write based on complexity of words, punctuation used, length, etc.  Next the child and I both look at the sentence and read through it a couple times. This is the “studied” part of studied dictation.  Any words that are wildly outside their spelling skills, I write at the top of their dictation page for their reference.  Many words, however, look long and intimidating to them, but actually are within their grasp.  Those we break down together and discuss what spelling rules or patterns apply. We also discuss the punctuation, capitalization, contractions, etc.  Once they have studied the sentence, then we flip the page and I dictate it to them. 

Wendy

Edited by wendyroo

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7 hours ago, Etta said:

Wendyroo, what do you mean by "studied dictation."  I have two children that struggle with dyslexia, my ds has an extreme version of dyslexia and I think that writing from dictation would be difficult for them.  Because just spelling each word out is work.

 

Does your reading instruction already include spelling? Barton includes words, phrases, and sentences for spelling. I would begin with those. And spelling words they do not yet know how to encode/decode will be unproductive for a dyslexic. For that situation, I would stay within what you've taught. 

Can your student hand write comfortably or do they need to use an app or typing? That's the other thing. My ds10 cannot comfortably, practically hand write spelling words, so dictation is entirely a no go for him. He can spell with tile apps (Barton, etc.) and we're working on typing. I'm merging his spelling into his typing right now, teaching a few letters and building all the words he can spell with them, so that his typing will be functional.

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