Showing posts with label struggling writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label struggling writers. Show all posts
Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Best Curriculum to Help Struggling Writers


Some students are blessed with the ability to just sit down and write. If they are given a topic, they can sit down and write paragraphs with ease. But for many students writing is a nightmare, they don't know what to write or how to structure their writing. These students  either write very little or they write a lot, but it is a confusing mess. These students  need to be taught a system to get their thoughts out on paper in an organized way. 


Students who struggle with writing need very specific instructions in order to write well.  Many writing programs give general outlines or ideas on writing, but struggling writers just find this frustrating. They need specific instructions on ways to write sentences, paragraphs and essays and they also need specific guidance on each type of writing ie. narrative, persuasive, expository etc.


Just as multi-sensory activities help dyslexic readers read better, multi-sensory strategies help struggling writers write more effectively.One effective technique I use often is making the students highlight the different parts of their paragraph or essay in different colors. 

Three curriculum programs that I like to use the most with struggling writers are Institute for Excellence in Writing, Step up to Writing, and Basic Writing Skills by Judith Hochman. In fact, I combine the strategies of these three fantastic programs when I tutor struggling writers.

I have created a terrific resource for January that focuses on expository paragraph writing.
It combines  the 3 S's using a Power point presentation and correlating printables.  You can purchase it here

If you have a struggling writer who is not ready for expository paragraphs yet you might find this article helpful.

I will be creating more helpful material for struggling writers in the future so subscribe to my blog and follow my store so you don't miss out.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Helping Struggling Writers Write Better Paragraphs

Stretching Sentences
In my last article I talked about how using Sentence Stretchers can help struggling writers expand their sentences from very simple sentences to more complex thoughts. This particular material has been extremely helpful to my students with dysgraphia.

Stretching Sentences to Paragraphs

Once my students have gotten a better grasp of how to write a better sentence, then we move on from there helping them to expand their sentences into paragraphs. The way we do this is by taking the student’s expanded sentence and place it in the middle and then we build a story around it. This way we end up with a story that has a clear beginning middle and end. This is a helpful model for students to see how to organize their writing.

Take the fear out of writing

The pictures of this process are from a tutoring session I recently did with the freebie Halloween Sentence Stretchers. I took the activity and transferred it to a Google Document to work on this process with an online student in Europe. Then we used Sentence to Paragraphs Stretchers Halloween Edition to transform his expanded sentence into a short paragraph story. This student used to have an extreme fear of writing but now is making good progress. If you would like to try this process with your students you might try: this or this

These artists shared their materials


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