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Tips for Parents of Struggling Adolescent Writers

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❶Sometimes students with writing difficulties make multiple mistakes when copying information and it is important to insure that they have access to the correct information.

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Offering access to a variety of programs helps decrease boredom and allows for choice, as the student may select different software each night. Alternate programs have also been developed which teach keyboarding skills based on the alphabetical sequence. One such program starts with the left hand and uses a poem which begins, "little finger a, reach for b, same finger c, d, e," King, Initially, as the student is learning, correct finger should not be required when he is typing for content, as this greatly increases the demands on active working memory.

For most students, the habits developed during typing practice will eventually integrate with the finger used while concentrating on ideation and content. Once a student learns word-processing skills, she will have the option of progressing to use of voice-activated software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Such software allows the student to dictate into a microphone without the need for direct typing on the keyboard. However, this is a higher level skill which is much more efficient once the student knows and understands basic word processing and writing skills.

Clear enunciation, lack of slurring words, and use a precise preplanning and organization are critical for success with voice-activated programs. This is particularly laborious for older students in high school or college, who have much greater note taking demands.

While a laptop computer can be efficient, it can be cumbersome to carry around. Also, it is expensive to fix or replace a vandalized, dropped, or otherwise broken computer. A successful alternative that has become popular with some older students is the use of a personal digital assistant PDA such as the PalmPilot series or the Visor Handspring series. These units are quite small palm size and easy to transport in a backpack.

A nearly standard size keyboard can be attached which greatly facilitates typing and, hence, note- taking.

This is especially useful for recording homework assignments and "to do" lists. For note-taking during a lecture, many students still require the assistance of a note-taker, even if the complete notes are only used as a backup. Many students who struggle with writing also have difficulties with spelling. Some students then simplify their word usage.

Other students just include the incorrectly spelled word. When such students use a staging approach, they can first focus on pre-organization and then writing or typing a draft.

A next step would be to go back and work on fixing misspelled words. Sometimes the spell checker on a computer does not help the student because the misspelled word is not close enough to correct. In such situations, the student should be taught to develop strong phonetic analysis skills so that she can learn to spell words phonetically, the way they sound. Then the student will be able to utilize technology such as one of the Franklin Electronic Resources.

In our office, the Language Master has been found to be very appropriate because of its large font size and speech clarity. A common complaint of students who struggle to write is that their hand gets tired when writing. This can be due to a variety of factors. Some of the most common factors are inappropriate grip, a very tight pencil grip, or inefficient writing posture. There are many efficient grippers that can be used with the pencil or pen to enhance the efficiency of the students grasp on the pencil.

One example, the large Pencil Grip , is ergonomically developed to work with the natural physiology of the hand to gently place fingers in the proper position for gripping.

Students can be helped to decrease hand fatigue by performing warm-up activities before writing in the middle of the task. Such activities help the student manipulate and relax muscles in the writing hand. For older students who need to take a large number of notes during a class, dividing their paper in half and writing on only one half the time helps reduce the drag of the writing instrument across the paper.

This too will reduce writing fatigue. One of the best compensations for a student who struggles with writing is to have a teacher that understands. For some students it is not possible to be neat while also focusing on content. Some students cannot focus on both neatness and use of writing mechanics at the same time.

Understanding Dysgraphia Richards, , we learn how elementary school student Eli compensated for the frustration caused by his struggles with trying to be neat while also thinking:. Eli figured it was easier to write just a few sentences. His teachers complained, but Eli kept writing very short stories. They always told him how messy his papers were. This is why a staging approach is critical. Requiring concentration on only one or two aspects at a time will help reduce the overload for a student.

Educators Publishing Service www. Keeping a Head in School: Memory Foundations for Reading. The Source for Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. Understanding Dysgraphia , 2nd Edition. A program for improving creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking 7thth grade. Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Exclusive to LD OnLine.

Teach students how to manage their time and their tasks by having them write down their whole schedule for one day. Then, have students estimate how long they think it will take them to do each task that they listed. Go over the list and discuss how much time should be spent on each task.

This activity will help them understand that time-management skills are essential, and that they must take ownership of their learning in order to keep them from struggling in school.

Sometimes the easiest way for a struggling student to understand a concept better is to take it one question at a time. If you find that you have many struggling students, then this is the best option for the whole group. For example, if students are doing small group work, instead of giving them a list of 10 questions to answer together all at once, have them answer one question at a time, and after each question, have them regroup as a whole group before allowing them to go onto the next question.

Struggling students need to practice thinking on their own. Take the time to ask questions that make students have to think about their answer. Teach them how to make inferences and not just blurt out any answer that comes to mind. The more they take the time to think about their answers, the easier time they will have when trying to come up with solutions to the answer.

Students who are having a hard time often get the urge to raise their hands and ask for help for every single question. To stop this from happening, you need to come up with a strategy that will allow students to move on when they get stuck on a question.

Some teachers find that sticky notes or red and green flip cards are an effective technique. Other teachers find that limiting the number of times a student is allowed to ask a question for each lesson works well too. Effective teachers encourage students and motivate them to do well in school. They take the time to praise them and tell them that they can do anything when they put their mind to it. Be that teacher, the teacher that tells them they can do it! Do you have any strategies that work well with your struggling students?

If so, please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what works for you and your students. Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. View the discussion thread. At TeachHUB it is our mission to improve the quality of education by making available the most current, complete and affordable resources for all K Educators.

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For teachers, by teachers. Fight the Urge to Tell Students the Answer As mentioned earlier, sometimes it is just easier to give the struggling student the answer rather than taking the time to give them the tools to find the answer themselves. Teaching Strategies to Make Students Accountable. To foster student accountability within your classroom, and help your students A short list of random teaching strategies related to creative promotions of How to Motivate Students Through Encouragement.

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I use a “Writing Without Curriculum “ or I sometimes call it the “ Right Brain Writing Program” that I created specifically for kids and teenagers who needed more structure to write sentences, paragraphs, and papers. I created this easy to use writing method when I was teaching bright, hard working students in a Remedial Language Arts. Strategies to Help Struggling Writers. Student writers often struggle because they lack connection with the assignment or an authentic audience. Relevant topics, blogging, and brainstorming with peers can remedy this. How can we help students who struggle with writing?

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Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Classroom Compensations. By: Regina G. Richards Sometimes students with writing difficulties make multiple mistakes when copying information and it is important to insure that they have access to the correct information. Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn. Struggling Writers (K-8): Recommendations for Teachers. successes, and struggles with writing. This will help students view writing as an art or craft, and will provide a potential role model. 5. Have a publishing commemoration that celebrates student writing. Provide extra handwriting and spelling instruction to help struggling.