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WRTR (Spaulding)


Clarita
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You're not making a conceptual switch from AAR to WRTR. What is the problem you're trying to solve? 

I don't know your whole situation, but it sounds like you're dealing with dyslexia and need a higher tier of intervention, maybe some evaluation to figure out what is going on. Dyslexia is a phonological processing problem. Does he have any *vision* complaints, headaches, or other vision related discomfort? Developmental vision issues can hold back reading by affecting comfort, focusing, visual memory, etc. You're always wise to get a thorough eye exam by a developmental optometrist to make sure vision is not part of the problem.

I used WRTR and SWR with my first dc for years then went through AAS with her (levels 1-6) as a thorough review after she did vision therapy. My ds is dyslexic so I got him Barton, which is pretty amazing and a definite step up from AAR/WRTR/SWR, no matter what various "dyslexia" blogs claim (spit spit).

So it's not a question of whether something is good or not, because I LIKE all these products. I'm just trying to figure out what you're gaining by changing systems. You're certainly not going to a higher tier of intervention, and you're not getting the information to help you determine exactly what the cause of the challenge is. If you define and quantify the challenge, you can pick materials to solve it. If you just keep jumping, you're just kind of hoping. Get some data, figure out what the problem is, choose the tool that addresses the problem.

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss

This is NOT a dyslexia test but it's a little quick 5-10 minute tool you can run that can identify some precursor issues that hinder students in progressing even with good programs. Free, doesn't take long at all to administer, might get you some helpful data.

 

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I doubt he has dyslexia or anything. He has zero issues reading and taught himself to read at 4. Occasionally he'll skip words but, that can be attributed to him being 6 and thus easily distracted.

What I want to gain by changing something is I want him to try to write more. My guess the problem is he is so good at everything else that writing seems impossibly hard and/or he has zero motivation to write.  If anything I want a faster (or customizable) pace than AAR to learning how to spell and write.

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You can be hyperlexic *and* dyslexic.

Reading and writing are such very different skills, it's probably not a good idea to try and tie them together.

Just explain that his brain is better at reading than writing at the moment, so he should congratulate his brain for being a good reader and tell it to be patient about writing because all that reading is putting ideas into his head that he'll be able to write about later.

I'd avoid assigning any creative writing. It's too much pressure. If he wants to do that, he can do it in his own time where no one will correct it, or he can dictate to you, you can write it down for him to use as copywork.

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I think your son sounds like a normal six-year-old boy, in that it’s very common for boys that age to not like writing. I think SWB talks about that in The Well-Trained Mind (although I may be confusing authors). But I remember reading about how, in general, seven-year-old boys aren’t fond of writing and it’s ok to give them extra time to develop, which gave me some peace about my own son. He was very much like your son—gifted reader and reluctant writer. In my son’s case, his spelling skills lagged behind his reading skills, which is also normal, but that increased his frustration with writing. I think his fine motor skills were lagging a bit too—he was capable of writing, but his hand would tire easily. There are a lot of components to writing that we aren’t conscious of as adults because the process feels automatic to us.

In my son’s case, I decided to focus on the basics, and I stopped asking him to write anything that he had to come up with on his own. We did All About Spelling, handwriting, copywork, and oral narration and kept these lessons short. Now, at age 9, he is starting to do written narrations. He still doesn’t prefer writing, but he can do it well when he needs to. I think focusing on the basics for a couple of years allowed time for his spelling and motor skills to mature and for all of the different processes to begin working well together.

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On 8/4/2023 at 9:08 PM, Clarita said:

NM, I just read the book. 

So you got WRTR or WTM? Did you like it? Fwiw I agree with the others that maybe try some dictation, work on narration, build comfort with writing. Has he done any copywork? Copywork would be totally age appropriate. It's also ok to do spelling orally, let them type/dictate their narrations, and let the ability to hand write or touch type the dictation and their original thoughts come with time. Sometimes their minds and verbal skills outpace their hands and physical readiness. 

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I got WRTR from the library to look at. I'm taking notes from it, we'll see if I end up using it for spelling. I like the method for spelling I'm not sure my son would have put up with it for reading. 

He has done copywork, but once copywork comes out the school day is derailed. We haven't done dictation except for spelling. He narrates things if I don't make it formal, but once I pull out a piece of paper to note down what he's saying he stops talking. I'm just having doubts in what we are doing because his sister (who can only read CVC words and a year and a half younger) will write more than he does.  

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2 minutes ago, Clarita said:

He narrates things if I don't make it formal, but once I pull out a piece of paper to note down what he's saying he stops talking. I'm just having doubts in what we are doing because his sister (who can only read CVC words and a year and a half younger) will write more than he does.  

To what do you attribute the bolded? That doesn't sound like a spelling issue. Are you slowing him down when he tries to dictate and he gets aggravated? Are you asking him to repeat sentences and he finds it hard to hold his thoughts? Is he sort of anxious/shy? Something else? Have you asked him? 

4 minutes ago, Clarita said:

once copywork comes out the school day is derailed

Again, what do you think is going on here? 

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36 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Are you slowing him down when he tries to dictate and he gets aggravated? Are you asking him to repeat sentences and he finds it hard to hold his thoughts?

Maybe, I don't write very fast and I would have to slow him down if I were to write down his words like I'm suppose to. I've thought about listening to him and then writing it down later but then I'm not sure it would be "his words". I'm also not selling him on the whole thing either because I write slow. 

Definitely not anxious or shy. I've asked on occasion, I don't think I've gotten a good answer... well thinking back maybe it takes too long.

41 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Again, what do you think is going on here? 

His hands get tired. Which can only be fixed by more practice... 

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1 hour ago, Clarita said:

Maybe, I don't write very fast and I would have to slow him down if I were to write down his words like I'm suppose to. I've thought about listening to him and then writing it down later but then I'm not sure it would be "his words". I'm also not selling him on the whole thing either because I write slow. 

Definitely not anxious or shy. I've asked on occasion, I don't think I've gotten a good answer... well thinking back maybe it takes too long.

The old school advice for this is to let him *record* his narration and then he (or you) can write/type it out. My dd did that at a stage where she could not touch type fast enough to keep up with her thoughts. I'll also suggest that in a situation like that doing some activities together to build working memory could help. The NEW fangled way would be to get text to speech on whatever device he has access to and then he emails you his narration. 

1 hour ago, Clarita said:

His hands get tired. Which can only be fixed by more practice... 

Did a professional tell you that? There are a number of reasons someone's hands get tired with writing. If he has developmental vision problems, the strain of trying to focus his vision would lead to awkward pencil grips and hand strain, which causes pain with writing. For some kids it's coming from a weak core, where they're leaning on their forearm, making it hard to move, which results in awkward movements and pain. To look for issues like this, you'd be asking for an OT eval (occupational therapy). Your ped can give you a referral. I HIGHLY recommend OT evals for this so you don't make assumptions about what is going on.  

School should not hurt and doing more does not necessarily solve the root issues. What usually happens, if you push forward without evals, is you end up with a kid who is 10 or 12 and you're FINALLY doing them. There's just no need. Your mother gut is telling you something is going on and it's affecting his ability to participate in typical, age appropriate activities. Your ped can do the referral. 

What we usually say is that kids and issues like this are like icebergs. The thing you're seeing (the discomfort with writing) is the tip of the iceberg, and what you're not necessarily realizing is all the other stuff it's connected to. Evals can help with that learning curve and make the "oh that's why!!" dots come together. 

School should not hurt and hand pain is a good reason to ask for some evals and get those referrals to sort out what is going on. 🙂 In the meantime, trying speech to text/dictation on some tech to see if that unleashes his narrations. You can work around the handwriting for now by letting him spell orally or spelling with tiles, alphabet magnets, etc. Ideally they will write (or type) to spell, because you get some motor memory to add retention. How is he with coloring? Fine motor activities like fastening buttons on his clothes or tying his shoes? Does he like playdough?

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19 minutes ago, Clarita said:

Maybe, I don't write very fast and I would have to slow him down if I were to write down his words like I'm suppose to. I've thought about listening to him and then writing it down later but then I'm not sure it would be "his words". I'm also not selling him on the whole thing either because I write slow. 

Definitely not anxious or shy. I've asked on occasion, I don't think I've gotten a good answer... well thinking back maybe it takes too long.

His hands get tired. Which can only be fixed by more practice... 

I haven’t heard of a narration methodology where the teacher has to write out the student’s words every time, but that sounds stressful. Have you read Know and Tell by Karen Glass? It’s a great book about narration. At age 6, narration would be mostly oral, for the teacher and the student, although the student could draw a picture or act out the story if he chose. Written narration would start around age 9 or 10, but even then, they’re still doing oral narrations most of the time. I don’t want to overwhelm you with suggestions, but I wonder if Charlotte Mason-style narration would feel less stressful to both of you. 

Another thought: if you feel like you have to write it down, could you just record him talking and then write it down later? Edit: I see that that’s been mentioned above.

With copywork, maybe less is more? When I was having the same trouble with my son at ages 6-7, I read somewhere about giving him the least amount of copywork that he could easily do without complaining. That turned out to be just a word or two. So that’s where we started, and as that became easy for him, I added a word or two at a time until he was able to do a couple of sentences without trouble.

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2 hours ago, Clarita said:

 I'm just having doubts in what we are doing because his sister (who can only read CVC words and a year and a half younger) will write more than he does.  

Just wanted to add that this is true of my kids as well. Little sister enjoys writing far more than older brother does, even though learning to read has been harder for her than it was for him.

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11 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Did a professional tell you that?

No, not really. I homeschool through a charter so I get some teaching support. He did meet whatever state standards there was for Kindergarten, which was he can write letters legibly. We did give him some scribbling work or messy handwriting work just to have more stamina. (This did help because he can write most of his own math work.) 

11 hours ago, PeterPan said:

School should not hurt and doing more does not necessarily solve the root issues. What usually happens, if you push forward without evals, is you end up with a kid who is 10 or 12 and you're FINALLY doing them. There's just no need. Your mother gut is telling you something is going on and it's affecting his ability to participate in typical, age appropriate activities. Your ped can do the referral. 

What we usually say is that kids and issues like this are like icebergs. The thing you're seeing (the discomfort with writing) is the tip of the iceberg, and what you're not necessarily realizing is all the other stuff it's connected to. Evals can help with that learning curve and make the "oh that's why!!" dots come together. 

School should not hurt and hand pain is a good reason to ask for some evals and get those referrals to sort out what is going on. 🙂 In the meantime, trying speech to text/dictation on some tech to see if that unleashes his narrations. You can work around the handwriting for now by letting him spell orally or spelling with tiles, alphabet magnets, etc. Ideally they will write (or type) to spell, because you get some motor memory to add retention. How is he with coloring? Fine motor activities like fastening buttons on his clothes or tying his shoes? Does he like playdough?

I didn't think there was a problem, I don't think he's behind on the whole physical act of writing thing. Before just now I thought it was just the one thing he's on level instead of ahead on. My only concern was the skill gap between being able to read and communicate versus act of physically writing.

He does play with playdough and he has never liked coloring. Fastening buttons he has been able to do for a long time. They don't make a lot of casual tie shoes anymore (even his tennis shoes have been velcro with elastic so far and I'm not trying to seek that out). I thought a lot of kids his age can't tie shoes. The kids around his age in baseball all need their cleats tied for them. 

I'll definitely think on this. 

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14 hours ago, Clarita said:

His hands get tired. Which can only be fixed by more practice... 

Sometimes a child's hand tires when writing because he is holding his writing implement incorrectly and too tightly. More practice doesn't fix that; correct hand position, as well as being sure he is forming his letters correctly, may.

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9 hours ago, Clarita said:

he has never liked coloring.

My first dc, I didn't want to be the paranoid mom so I just bought into lines about kids all being different, blah blah. She was 10-12 before we got evals, and it was a lot of water under the bridge. Second kid, didn't make that mistake. Started evals at 6. You have some little dots, so a little bit of evals would be a good way to see if anything is up. I agree with the point about how they hold their writing instrument and whether it's tight, but more goes into it than just saying to hold it correctly. They might have midline issues or vision issues or retained reflexes or other things resulting in the tightness. 

OT at this age is play and it's a pretty easy eval to make happen. Usually they meet a couple times, do fun things together, and you can observe. You learn a lot just by doing the evals and any therapy they do is PLAY. My ds' OT at that age? Throwing balls back and forth in special ways, playing on a jungle gym in the clinic in special ways, doing spy games with obstacle courses and code writing. I had one OT who tried to be all dragon OT and just force handwriting, so I fired her. 

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