Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Authentic Writing Practise for Children

We have been blessed that Orlando was innately motivated to learn how to read. His passion for discovering how the world works was all that was needed for him to see purpose in picking up a book and figuring out what all those symbols meant. We could not be happier with his progress. He is reading far beyond his years and has a deep passion for books. What more could we want. (I wrote a little about learning to read here.)

BUT, when it comes to writing it is a different story. He can write. His spelling is age appropriate, but his handwriting is sloppy and messy. He is challenged by writing and so writes as few words as is acceptable. This often results in texts that need much interpretation as we are unsure what it is about... not enough written to create full sentences.

There are a plethora of ideas around to encourage children to write. Shopping lists, stories, letters. We have done them all, with pleasure, but they are short lived. We wrote letters to everyone we knew, but only got one back... a month later.This is not motivating and doesn't provide regular practice. So I started wondering... how can I provide authentic and exciting writing practice, motivating writing...

EMAIL!! I have signed Orlando up for his own email address. Together we have typed letters to a variety or friends and family. Then we waited... within a day we had 3 emails back!! Orlando wanted to type back instantly!

In the first instance I typed while he dictated, then he typed while I was close by. We discussed spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and completing ideas. This has now progressed further to him typing the emails independently and then coming to me at the end. He is reading them aloud, and doing the first 'edit' himself, seeing where it doesn't make sense. Then I am assisting him with finer details.

Motivation is high and the quick responses are motivating and very satisfying. Even in 2 weeks his sentence structure is improving.

His handwriting is the next challenge... but more on that later.

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