Monday, May 26, 2014

Encouraging Reluctant Second Grade Writers from Planet Smarty Pants

Writing Development In Second Grade

Last week we had an Open House Night in school and could finally see the writing work that our second grader was doing in her classroom assembled into one writing journal. Almost every week on Monday every child would write a short Weekend News essay about events of the weekend. Smarty’s school uses a template very similar to this FREE Weekend Edition Template in TPT store.
Weekend News Sample
While flipping through the pages, I noticed that while Smarty’s spelling certainly improved over time, her handwriting remained pretty much the same – legible, but uneven and laborious. Unfortunately, nothing has been done over three years to correct her grip in school, and I carry somewhat of a grudge against the teachers who didn’t focus on mechanics of writing with her. We started working on grip correction at home now, but bad habits are hard to break. Writing remains her least favorite activity, and she always tries to get away with the minimum writing work required. I am not saying, however, that she is not on the level required for the end of the second grade – she has never been behind in her writing assignments, but it’s not at all enjoyable for her, and, to a degree, holds her back in other disciplines that require showing her work. One of the reasons we are not willing to consider grade acceleration in school is because her writing skills are not mature enough for older grades. We are hoping that with some additional focus her fine motor skills will catch up over summer, and writing will stop being so difficult for her.

Encouraging Reluctant Writers

I find it difficult to encourage my daughter to write more at home without turning this activity into a dreaded “forced labor” exercise or into a power struggle. We are still struggling to find the best time of the day for her to practice her writing. Lately, it became a prerequisite to her getting much desired computer time, but I am also trying to make it a game and give Smarty some options in choosing writing exercises. Before she starts writing, she rolls a dice three times to choose a writing topic. She always hopes to get an Amazon review, because she would much rather type than write, but she is yet to get lucky on that.
Choosing Topics for Reluctant Writers

Writing Advice From After School Link Up

Clearly, my daughter is not the only reluctant writer out there. My co-hosts The Measured Mom and This Reading Mama are collaborating together on the series of writing lessons for preschool and kindergarten and have great great insights in this series. I wish some of our writing troubles were addressed earlier, and now other parents can benefit from combined knowledge of two specialists.
how-to-inspire-kids-to-write-at-home from The Measured Mom
This Reading Mama is sharing her views on encouraging reluctant {very young} writers in her post as part of the same series of writing lessons. Even though, she is focusing on younger learners, I found her post quite insightful:
Fantastic Fun and Learning has a great post on exploring the writing prompt with your child while helping with writing homework:
Talk-About-It-Writing-Strategy-for-Kids from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Frog in a Pocket set up a post office at home to write notes of kindness to each other.
home post office from Frog in the Pocket
Amanda from The Educators’ Spin On It also shares samples from her daughter’s second grade writing assignments. It was interesting for me to compare writing of a willing writer with the writing samples from reluctant writer (my daughter’s writing).
2nd Grade Writing from The Educators Spin On It

You Turn

What are your tips for encouraging reluctant writers in the classroom or at home?

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Erica MomandKiddo said...

It's probably hard for teachers to focus on grip among all the other things. Just another example of why every classroom should be smaller and have more teachers!! :) This was interesting to read. Kiddo is no longer a reluctant writer but now my 5 year old is much more reluctant than his brother ever was!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Writing (and correct grip) comes naturally to my kids so I don't have much advice. Mike actually holds his pencil incorrectly and writes laboriously as an adult. I practiced handwriting a lot while we lived in France, but writing beautifully is time consuming and I am often sloppy.

Ticia said...

Try this pencil grip, it's a big help for correcting grip:

I'm with you on that reluctant writers. I was that mainly because I find writing by hand tedious and tiring.

min said...

I don't have a reluctant writer but I noticed K's grip has changed. She went from correct grip to grabbing the pencil and wrapping her fingers all around. Strange. She says it's more comfortable that way. It hasn't held her back from desire to write so I just ignored it.

jeannine said...

I don't like a lot of skill and drill type of work but you are right that correct letter formation makes writing so much easier for children. If a child is "drawing" her letters while trying to write a little composition, the activity really turns into a laborious chore.

My kiddos began writing in a "journal" as toddlers. We approach it as a memory journal and gain much inspiration from the books we read. We typically don't use any writing prompts. For many years MacGyver was a nonfiction fact based writer. I let him focus on his interests. This year he did a total twist. He is writing fictional chapter books with dialogue. It's nice to see his genre branch out a bit.

We also just made our Daddy & Me journals for Father's Day. The kiddos are very excited to exchange notes with Daddy.

jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

Anonymous said...

I love the roll the dice idea to encourage writing.

Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

Cat Ami said...

I love that weekend news template... what a great idea to get children focused.