Writing is a skill that people of all ages struggle with. During a student's primary years in school, it is essential that he hones this skill as much as possible, which can easily be done by practicing at home. It is important to teach a student that writing is not only necessary in the classroom, but it will be an important tool he will use throughout his everyday life. Creating this sense of purpose will help motivate him to improve his writing skills.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Diagnostic test
- Children's books at varying difficulty levels
- Follow-up activities
- Index cards
Test the student on her initial writing skills, using a diagnostic test. Use the first page of a journal and pick a simple topic for the student to write about, such as "What is your favourite animal and why?" Read the finished work, looking for spelling, grammar, punctuation and other errors.
Review the diagnostic test with the student, giving explanations as to where mistakes were made and explaining to her why they are errors.
Have the student rewrite his work. This can be used later as a gauge to see if her writing is improving.
Create flashcards with words the student misspelled in his essay, read the word to him and ask him what the word means. Then have him spell it on paper, and flip the flashcard over so he can see if he is correct.
Show your student how to play online word games. Fun Brain offers many games that help build vocabulary and also improve spelling and grammar skills (see References).
Read with the student every day. Have him read a short book to you, and if he stumbles on words, help him. Make vocabulary flash cards for these words.
Tell the student to write in his journal about the book he read. Vary the type of writing you have him complete by allowing him to write creatively, persuasively or informatively about the book.
Have the student reread the book aloud to you, but don't offer assistance this time. Take note of mistakes he repeated, mistakes that are new and mistakes he didn't make a second time.
Increase the difficulty of the books over time.
Tips and warnings
- Find a local bookstore or library that has a regular "story time." This will not only help you meet people who might be struggling with a child who is having trouble writing, it will also expose the student to a reading/writing environment.
- Have the student write daily in her journal about frustrations and successes she is having with her writing.
- A simple free-writing exercise can make writing feel more enjoyable and less like a chore.
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