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Jenkins

3rd grade writing?

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My incoming 3rd grader hates writing - any type - Handwriting, journaling, Copywork. Should I push him to work through it or just take a light year? He is a smart kid but writing causes us trouble almost everyday. He is a great reader and is advanced in math. 

Any ideas on what curriculum might work for him? Or maybe a different route? 

We tried bju, spelling you see, a reason for handwriting and the good and he beautiful this past year. Not all everyday. Nothing really clicked. 

Edited by Jenkins

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Do you mean you're looking for composition or handwriting or spelling suggestions? Or just ideas on how to make the physical act of writing easier for him?

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My main concerns are that these issues will continue. I don’t know how hard I should push him. Should I push him to finish his work or let him take it easy and hope that as he matures it will be easier. Or would easing up cause more problems. I have never run into this problem before and I am feeling lost. 

He is a lefty and his penmanship is not very good. He can be really stubborn, too. I don’t want our decisions to backfire on us!

Are we using a curriculum that isn’t a good fit for a child who doesn’t like to write. Would something else work better? 

Hopefully that explains my concerns a little better! 

Edited by Jenkins
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Sounds like a good candidate for Writing With Ease. It's narration and copywork/dictation, so only writing about a sentence or two at a time, and not every day. If he's never done it before, you might want to drop back to level 2 to begin, but you can speed it up later and catch up if he's able. I think at this age that a little bit of writing at a time but done consistently is the way to go.

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14 minutes ago, hollyhock2 said:

Sounds like a good candidate for Writing With Ease. It's narration and copywork/dictation, so only writing about a sentence or two at a time, and not every day. If he's never done it before, you might want to drop back to level 2 to begin, but you can speed it up later and catch up if he's able. I think at this age that a little bit of writing at a time but done consistently is the way to go.

This.  For kids who are reluctant, start them at a comfortable spot.  And by comfortable, I mean easy.  So painlessly easy that it's habit building instead of work. A few other programs you might want to look at are:
English Lessons Through Literature, level 2 (you can cut the copywork down, but it's very gentle)
Writing Tales (level 1 is for grades 3-4 and intersperses writing exercise with hands on or active games)
Treasured Conversations (....possibly.  Section 1 is short and painless, but section 2 ramps up the work slowly)

 

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My oldest was, and to a certain extent still is, a painfully slow writer and I pushed too much writing on her too early and I regret that.  My son is still not ready to write at age 6 so I know it will be a long road for him as well.   But, writing is an important skill.

What works for keeping the physical act of writing to a minimum while accomplishing all my goals is dictation.  I posted about benefits and how it works at our house here.  Before buying curriculum and experimenting with expensive choices you might give this simple and free method a try.  If you really want to purchase something (sometimes I just really want to buy curriculum! lol) you can always get the Bonnie Landry dictation book in my siggy which is very cheap (I get no monetary benefit from linking to it, fwiw).

I think it is reasonable to limit writing for an 8-9 year old and to really make the most of the time that the child is forced to physically write.  15 minutes of copywork and dictation each day is plenty and spelling/handwriting/grammar can all be integrated.  Ruth Beechick recommends that a child who struggles with bad handwriting just focus on one letter on any given day and copy it one to three times in his best handwriting rather than doing a whole worksheet or even a whole line.  Landry talks about how non-threatening and light hearted dictation can be.  The focus is on the relationship with the child and hence the "requirements" can be very flexible.

So how might dictation work in your case?

1. Either decide to use your own selections or Modern Speller/Dictation Day by Day.  The advantage of DDBD is that it is designed to be used as a spelling program so the words spiral throughout the entire program and there's no teacher prep.  That is usually enough for a non-struggling speller.  The advantage to using your own sentences is that it is far more interesting, lol. 

2.  Decide whether you want to do prepared (child reads and "visualizes" before beginning) or cold dictation.  More info on types of dictation here.  Honestly, it's not that important just what works best for you and your child.

If using Modern Speller:

M-R Dictate sentences.  Discuss spelling and whatever else you want to focus on (capitalization, punctuation, subject/verb agreement/etc).  If wanting to work on handwriting as well spend the last couple of minutes writing a letter as perfectly as he can once or twice.  No need to do a whole line, one letter well written is worth more than a dozen haphazard ones!  You can repeat the letter for a week or for two weeks if that's what he needs.  When you're ready to teach cursive you can replace the handwriting practice with cursive instruction.

F Pick a very short copywork passage, write it out for him in your best handwriting (or use a worksheet generator/StartWrite) and do some copywork for handwriting practice.

Throughout the week practice orally spelling words that he needs practice with from the week's dictation or use AAS tiles.  No need to do a spelling quiz because DDBD cycles through all the words over and over till mastery.

If using your own selections:

Day 1: Child copies from a model (keep it very short!).  Discuss spelling and whatever else you want to focus on (capitalization, punctuation, subject/verb agreement/etc).

Day 2: Dictate the same or a different selection.  Put words whose spelling needs to be mastered on a list and practice throughout week.  Practice one letter for handwriting.

Repeat.

Day 5: Have a spelling quiz if you like.

BTW, in dictation you don't want your child to misspell a word while he is writing to avoid imprinting the wrong spelling.  If he needs you to, dictate letter by letter and just add the word to the spelling list.  I usually write proper nouns down ahead of time so they can just be copied.

There is really no need to for any other writing.  Composition at this age can be purely oral narrations (no need to buy anything for that either, if you need instructions I can provide tons of links!).  Spelling practice can be oral drill or practicing with the AAS tiles on the refrigerator/whiteboard (you can even 'analyze' the words the way AAS does if you like, I never used AAS but we have tiles permanently up on a whiteboard near the kitchen so child spells while I work and I just point out the spelling rule).  If your child is really writing phobic, math can be scribed or done orally (if you really have no time for that pick a workbook that doesn't require a whole lot of writing that he can complete independently after you've worked with him one-on-one).  Science/history can be just as simple as read alouds or assigning 20 minutes a day of independent reading from library books.

Do try to build up his fine motor stamina with other methods: coloring, play dough, etc.

HTH and you get at least some ideas 🙂 

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I agree with the above posters, WWE is not a lot of writing. We also use/used AAS and used the tiles for some of the days of the week, so it’s only physically writing 1-2 days per week. For grammar we like FLL, no writing in the early levels.  

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I'm in the same boat- left handed kid, ahead in msth and reading.... atrocious handwriting!   I do feel like I've let it go the last 3 years, been gentle, encouraging,  and not pushed her.  This year I've already been letting her know she's going to have to step up.  I'm planning to fo daily handwriting with her- starting cursive bc it helped my other lefthanded kid.  I'm making it one of my main priorities this year.  I'm using Growing with Grammar and Soaring with Spelling - she likes this program, but it's just fill in the blank.  We've done copywork every year, but I haven't pushed back on the sloppiness bc I thought she would outgrow it.  I've also got Writing and Rhetoricand WWE 3 if I need to pull some other assignments together.  I don't plan to do anything consistently- skip around and keep it interesting,  but keep a focus on the handwriting!

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My dd was a reluctant (and lefty) writer.  I would start with Writing With Ease 1, and also do Handwriting without Tears.  Get the little chalkboard and such that go with it.  It's great for lefties!

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For a reluctant writer, you may want to shore up spelling and handwriting a bit more before trying a writing program (or use "oral writing" if you find a composition program that you like but he's not ready for all the writing yet). Sometimes those individual skills really hold a student back. All About Spelling has a gradual writing progression that's really helpful for struggling writers--it starts with words and dictation phrases, moves on to dictation sentences, and then adds in a sentence-writing component by the third level (the levels are not the same as grade levels.) The tiles can help scaffold kids who aren't ready for a lot of writing at first too. Hang in there, third grade is still young--it's not unusual for third graders to not like writing much yet!

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