Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Helping Struggling Writers Write Better Sentences

Physical Dysgraphia

Many people are aware that dysgraphia is a condition in which a child has trouble with the physical act of writing. These students have trouble just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line. This makes their writing messy and often illegible. These children often need the help of an occupational therapist to correct these problems.

Language based Dysgraphia

Another aspect of dysgraphia for some children is when students struggle with putting their thoughts on paper. These children tend write as little as possible I call these students “the shorter, the better” type. These students write things such as “The girl ran home.” or “I hate writing.” The other type of student I call the “brain dump” type.  These children put every thought down they have in their heads with little to no organization. Both situations can be difficult for a parent or teacher to remediate.

Careful Explicit Teaching

Dysgraphic students need to be taught specific strategies and methods to be able to write more effectively. Some helpful curriculums I use are: Institute for Excellence in Writing, Step Up to Writing, and Teaching Basic Writing Skills.

Overcoming Fear of Writing

However, even with a good writing curriculum many students with dysgraphia have a deep fear writing and it’s hard to get them started. For this reason, I am developing some fun low stress writing prompts called Sentence Stretchers based off of the ideas of Dr. Judith C Hochman of Teaching Basic Writing Skills.

Setting Kids Up For Success

I  have used these Sentence Stretchers with dyslexic and dysgraphic students with great success. They can do Sentence Stretchers easily and this builds confidence. Once students are more confident with sentences we can then stretch the sentences into paragraphs. I will share how to do this in my next post.
Here are two examples of what a sentence stretchers looks like. Click here to see Sentence Stretchers For Fall Constructing Better Sentences

If you want to try them with your students try this Freebie or Sentence Stretchers for Fall


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