Writing - Quality expectations 1st-8th

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
BHelf
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Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:58 pm

Writing - Quality expectations 1st-8th

Unread post by BHelf » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:05 pm

Writing Woes
amelasky wrote:Should I be worried that previous spelling words aren't being remembered as she is attempting to write? Do you think that it is the pressure of trying to write causing her to "forget" that she knows how to spell the words?
Pressure and the fact that it is using separate thinking skills. In other words, you shouldn't be worried since she is in 2nd grade. Help her on it. If she is stressing about it, no amount of hints or prompting will work in the tyranny of the moment. Just tell her how to spell it. I've taught my middle gal (I ruined my first) to just say "mom, I can't think how to spell this one?" I will either tell her the spelling, or give a prompt on the part that she is stuck, such as "that's a short vowel, so use ck instead of K". things like that.
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
http://www.asimplewalk.wordpress.com

cbollin

How Can We Improve Our Writing?

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:09 pm

JulietteAkers wrote:In just our homeschool we currently have grades 8, 5, and 3 represented. We were having trouble getting the quality we looked for in map worksheets, so I made a map myself and pointed out its features, neatness, organization, etc. Then we were getting good-looking maps.

Now in the same school, the composition skills are not coming along. ILL, middle school English and also in Writing Strands we are receiving the same poor work. How do I move their skills along? Where do I start in marking papers so they can advance? Most important, how do I deliver feedback that doesn't embitter the students?

Regards,
Julie Akers
Hi and welcome along.

I have a few tips and a few pieces of the puzzle for coaching (i.e. deliver feedback)
If you're using Writing Strands, I'd encourage you to get the book Evaluating Writing. That book will have coaching tips from the author of Writing Strands.

I have gained a lot of insight from this article written by Andrew Pudewa
http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/files/so_awkward.pdf

and this one too about common pitfalls and common options
http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/How_To ... es/192.php

In terms of how to get from point A to point B on it -- at the end of the Writing Strands assignments it is suggested to make a small checklist of some specific errors in that writing assignment. Work on those. Some people like to make a checklist of what each writer struggles with:

*I want to see longer sentences with a bit more sophisticated vocabulary (so now during the week,you work on how to use a thesaurus or really emphasize some new vocabulary from read alouds)

*I want to see a variety of sentence structures -- as Writing Strands puts it - don't do all Dick and Jane writing.
Example of what I'm trying to say on this:
Billy ate a pizza last night because it was his birthday.
Let's rephrase it
start same sentences with
When it happens: Last night Billy ate a pizza because it was his birthday
Why it happened: Because it was his birthday Billy ate a pizza last night
how it happened (ah, ha we have to add in a word now) Happily Billy ate a pizza last night because it was his birthday.

*describe some action with precise words instead of vague.

Without knowing the kinds of errors in papers, it's a little hard to toss out specific ideas to help. Are they struggling with getting their own ideas? Are they struggling with mechanics (grammar, punctuation, caps rules)?

And have others read the paper - sometimes we as teachers need another set of eyes to help make suggestions.
-crystal

Julie in MN
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Re: How Can We Improve Our Writing?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:19 pm

I agree with Crystal that it would help to know what kinds of errors you are seeing. "Writing" covers such a wide range of skills.

Is it mostly those punctuation marks they are leaving off? If so, I worked as a tutor for several years and this is very common, especially these days with texting and other button-pushing generation. At the place I tutored, we started right off making them go back and put every dot in there, until they would start to check the page before they turned it in. However, when we moved on to other skills, they would again leave things off. In other words, your kids aren't unusual if punctuation is their issue. For my youngest, it helped when he got to about 7th grade and the sentences he was reading were long enough that punctuation mattered. He actually started correcting his friends' punctuation :)

There are lots of other issues it could be, too. Hoping for some typical examples.
JulietteAkers wrote:It is both GUM and content that seems to be stuck in 3rd grade for both my older writers. Should I focus on grammar and punctuation first, or focus on content and rely on spelling checkers and grammar checkers to catch the mistakes?

A concrete example is ILL #156 where the assignment is to create the story of a boy who saves a train from derailment. DS wrote a few sentences talking about how the boy saw the tracks damaged and waved his arms at the train. I asked him to elaborate on "HOW" were the tracks damaged, and "HOW" did the boy catch the attention of the engineer. He finally produced a story with enough detail to satisfy DH and I, after a few hours of tears and some raised voices. The spelling errors were words with vowels omitted mostly, run-ons and questions ended with periods.

Thanks for hanging in with me.
Julie Akers
I think you have to work on it all, but.... not at the same time. Have you listened to the Writing Strands audio that I like to link to, at the bottom of the page here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLMddsrILtA
He uses cooking as an analogy that works well for me. Too much criticism he likens to a new cook producing an apple pie, and everyone critiquing each detail, down to the fork marks on the crust. Too little criticism he likens to a new cook who bakes up a storm and then washes it all down the garbage disposal without ever getting a response from any eaters.

So if the train story was a lesson in elaboration, then I'd just focus on that. Push each of them a little on that one thing, then stop before their brains explode with so many things that nothing sticks. I'd look at the WS goals for that lesson (or adapt for your own goals according to what you have to work with in your sons' work), and I'd try to make myself stick to those issues and not try for perfection. I sometimes even scribed for my son, typing as he spoke, if I really wanted him to work on his composition or organization or something, and he was getting teary about all the writing. That way, any little grammar issues I could casually stop and look puzzled and wait for a quick correction. You can make a list of things to talk more extensively about later, if it helps get it off *your* mind.

For the 5th grader, maybe if you noticed not one single period in the whole thing, you could ask him to, by the way, go back and put in some periods... or capital letters... or one thing that glares out at you. Or you could fix up one sentence to be just right, as the Writing Strands guy suggests.

For the 8th grader, I might not say anything except, "I'd like you to go back and fix your elementary school errors before we start chatting about building up our 8th grade skills." If he has a blank look, then I used to sometimes read ds's paper aloud as written, dramatically emphasizing how I didn't take a breath between sentences because there was no punctuation, or letting my voice fall flat when there was no question mark. Or, I'd have him read it aloud to me and stop him, saying, "No, that's not what it says, and let my finger follow under the words, slowing him down to read what he'd *really* written and notice the error himself. But my goal would be to hopefully get him to fix his errors on his own. Does your 8th grader type yet? Often it's less painful to fix errors at the keyboard.

Hope something in there sounds useful! Best wishes as you conquer another day!
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

JulietteAkers
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Re: How Can We Improve Our Writing?

Unread post by JulietteAkers » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:41 pm

I have read the "So Awkward" article from IEW. Thank you for sharing it.

We survived the week in ILL, and the rest of the week's writing is Writing Strands and fun writing, like
Christmas thank you notes...to go inside the Christmas cards (do not adjust your computers. I haven't mailed
cards on time in a decade).

Now that Writing Strands is coming to an end, I have IEW laying around somewhere. Perhaps I will dust it off
and give it another go.

Postby JulietteAkers » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:10 pm
One month later...penmanship is better, attitude is better, but they still suffer from GUM error blindness. Practice, practice, practice.

Regards,
Julie Akers

cbollin

Re: How Can We Improve Our Writing?

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:03 am

JulietteAkers wrote:One month later...penmanship is better, attitude is better, but they still suffer from GUM error blindness. Practice, practice, practice.

Regards,
Julie Akers
thanks for update!

why not get a little workbook that is just on things like spotting the errors? or drill on those things? doesn't Critical Thinking have a book called Editor in Chief? something like that? would that kind of drill be helpful for 5 minutes a day or less?

or type their paper exactly as written into Word - and make them figure out why the green line shows up on a grammar point? (or why the red won't go away on other's )

play editor with their papers, or ask the other children to play editor with each others' papers?

editing is a hard job. and I can remember in college Freshman English 2nd semester (ah, we business majors had to take Eng Comp 102).... I remember the grad student always brought in his dog to class. But, I remember that we had to stand up and read our papers out loud exactly as written. There were some people in the class who no matter what, would read it as it was intended, not as it was written. they never caught their GUM errors. The grad student who taught the class told them "well, your in business mgt, make sure your secretaries know their stuff and can edit your work so you look good. play that person very well"

JulietteAkers
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Re: How Can We Improve Our Writing?

Unread post by JulietteAkers » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:36 pm

We have started using Editor in Chief, one article per week for the days there isn't English scheduled.

I like your idea about putting the work into the PC and letting the students see the red lines and wagging finger
of the paperclip man (gee, I miss him!). Perhaps there is an electronic Editor in Chief product that does this for us.

Thanks for responding. Fighting the GUM fight, I remain

Julie Akers

2girls2boysnme
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Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by 2girls2boysnme » Tue May 01, 2012 12:22 pm

Could those of you have taught a first grader (or many of them), please give me your opinions on my daughter's writing/spelling. I don't know how much of this is normal for a first grader (it is the end of the school year, and she has been in public school including pre-k). I am planning to homeschool next year (with either ADV or ECC), but am scared that it might not be the right thing for her if she is dyslexic, as I suspect... She is a slow worker according to her teacher, struggles with reading and spelling, math facts, etc. She is 7 1/2 years old.
The first sample is a paper she completed at school (I am assuming it is a "final draft"). The second sample is from her journal, and was a rough draft written at bedtime.

Image
Image

TriciaMR
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue May 01, 2012 1:01 pm

Well, first I'll say she does really good staying on the lines and letters the right size in that final draft. Some of those "misspellings" could be because she didn't learn the phonics rules well... For example "girl" spelled "gril." My dd used to do that all the time. But, once we learned that er, ir, ur, ear, and our say /er/, and practiced each of those separately (so, we worked on er first, then ir, then, ur), and then practiced by having a sheet with 5 columns across the top, I would say a word, and she would have to put it in the right column, she rarely reverses "ir" any more. And, learning "they" that ey can say long /a/ or long /e/, helps with spelling they (because she did spell that one phonetically, good job!).

Looks like she needs some work on segmenting words - "butfly" instead of "butterfly" (I did know what she meant). Every syllable must have a vowel is a good rule to help with that, and learning to segment words by individual sounds, and then by syllable. "Sink" is tricky. She needs to learn that "ck" is only used after a short vowel (there can be no other letters before it). And then there is just memorizing when to use c vs. s in some words (because c does say /s/ before e, i and y, so that was a really good guess_.

Symptoms sound "dyslexic." I would use All About Spelling in this case for spelling (which will help in the reading department - at least it has for us), and possibly re-do MFW's 1st grade. They're a pretty good fit together. Two of my kids are dyslexic, and one of them writes like your second sample. Math facts will be a drill, drill, drill. Let her bounce on a tramp or whatever. Focus on 5 fact at a time. Show her the facts so she sees the answer and says the whole problem several time before covering up the answers. Try Xtra Math, fun4thebrain dot com and other online drills. One may work better than the other.

You can successfully teach a dyslexic at home. In fact, Tim Tebow is dyslexic, and that's one of the great things he said about homeschooling was that his mom was able to modify to fit his strengths and work on those weaknesses.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

Julie in MN
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue May 01, 2012 1:18 pm

I used to volunteer in the "publishing center" at my kids' gradeschool. I had to take manuscripts and type them up, glue them on paper, bind them in "books," for the children to illustrate. It was a K-3 school at the time and I had a LOT of trouble interpreting almost ALL of the manuscripts. I think your dd is right on par.

I also think the *amount* she produced is INCREDIBLE! I have a son who is averse to handwriting even at age 16.

If you want to "work" on her skills, I would either choose one skill per manuscript (something not personal, like "these 2 words are easy to mix up", or "there are lots of ways to spell /er/ and you made a good guess," or "names can be spelled any way the person wants but are important to them so you have to copy them"), or I would just focus on corrections at the sentence level, using a smaller piece of work such as correcting her Bible verse copywork or whatever she will be copying this year. I wouldn't want to risk that she'd become averse to producing such lovely amounts of composition!

A couple of other comments from my tutoring years:
- Don't fret about forgetting caps and punctuation. Depending on the child, this may not become habit until they are writing more complex sentences that are harder to read without clarifying when each sentence ends.
- She is actually making a lot of very phonetic errors, since a C followed by I does indeed say /s/, and CK can say /k/. Her version of the past tense of "say" actually makes more sense to me than "said." She's trying to make "went" into past tense with the ed, and she knows it's one of those "w" or "wh" words. Etc etc., she is really thinking there. Maybe she's ready to know some more of those rules to help her know which option to choose when she is seeing several.

Hopefully someone with dyslexia experience will chime in [oh, I see Trish did, yay].
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

TriciaMR
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue May 01, 2012 1:29 pm

Adding on, that I agree that is an incredible amount for a 1st grader to be writing. That's great to be writing so many sentences, even if the spelling is messed up, and you don't want to discourage that (believe me - been there, done that).

So, agreeing with Julie that focusing on one thing at a time would be good. Maybe over the summer you concentrate on writing each letter neatly (and really, they can use dashed-line paper up through 2nd grade, and some programs use it through 3rd grade while learning cursive). Then, in the fall, start focusing more on spelling/phonics.

With my kids, what I've done is after they write a sentence from dictation (and only from dictation) in All About Spelling, I say "Sentence check." Which means they need to go back and make sure they capitalized the first letter and have a punctuation mark at the end (. or ? or ! as appropriate). My oldest (dyslexic) now checks on her own - but I said "Sentence check" for months before she finally started doing it herself. One of my boys is not dyslexic, and after a week of me saying "Sentence Check" he mostly does it on his own, with the occasional reminder. My other boy who is dyslexic still needs lots of reminders.

Dyslexics basically just need way more practice. Lots more practice than kids who aren't dyslexic. And I mean lots more.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

gratitude
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by gratitude » Tue May 01, 2012 1:41 pm

I taught piano for a long time. Switching b and d does not mean dyslexia. It is very typical and ends as early as 6 and as late as 9 (they used to have to write their music theory for me).

Public school clearly teaches writing much differently than most of home schooling. She is trying to write far beyond her spelling abilities & understanding of what makes a complete sentence. Home schooling usually builds up spelling through copy work, dictation, and spelling before even attempting that level of writing being required of her.

I guess the other thing I would add is that it looks like she is being asked to 'write' sentences that are far beyond her abilities. My second grader writes 3 - 7 sentences a day at the end of 2nd grade, but he has worked up to that level and so they are correct grammatically and spelled correctly for the sentences being asked of him; this though would include sentences being copied and dictated rather than written. If spelling help is needed, for a word like nocturnal, I am there to give it.

I had no idea the public school did that much with writing so early. Hmmm...

Does this help?

Yodergoat
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by Yodergoat » Tue May 01, 2012 1:51 pm

I have never taught a first grader (yet, I'm about to!), but I have read lots of first grade writing, most coming from public schooled children. Her writing in the "Owls" paper is as neat and nice as any I have ever seen, and her spelling errors very common. Beautiful work, really!

My thoughts on her second paper... mayhap she was trying so hard to get her STORY on paper that she rushed through the spelling? Since she was doing some creative writing, and it really is a nice long story, I think she let the story and plot have precedence over the penmanship and spelling. I know that if I am in a rush trying to record the content of something, I will overlook other things until I do a re-write. Just a thought. Some of those mistakes might disappear if she has time to think on them.

The second paper looks more like what I usually see when reading most kids' first grade writing... not quite as good as the first example, but definitely on the level with what I have seen.

I don't have any real basis for judging dyslexia, though.
I'm Shawna...
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... happily wed to William since 1996
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2girls2boysnme
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by 2girls2boysnme » Tue May 01, 2012 2:51 pm

Thank you all for your time and opinions! What I am going to take away from your comments so far is that I'm not going to freak out! Most of her work looks more like the Owls paper. For the 6 weeks that we did homeschool at the beginning of first grade we tried A Reason for Handwriting A and HWOT. She did not love either one, but if she stops and tries, she can make nice letters. She starts at odd places though, like at the bottom for her g.
My big question is as a kid who is slowish in reading, seatwork, math facts, etc. is she going to have trouble with MFW ADV (in any of the subject areas)? I am considering getting MFW1 to afterschool and summer school with, starting on Friday when I can get it at the convention. I've heard it is a solid phonics curric. Thoughts? I don't even know all of the rules myself, so I can't just pull them out of my hat to teach her as I see errors, I need a guide. :~

MelissaM
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by MelissaM » Tue May 01, 2012 8:58 pm

To the OP, I agree with the others who said that it's great that your dd is obviously not "pencil phobic" and is able to write such copious amounts. If I were you (and I'm not, I'm just some lady on the internet, so you do what you feel is right), I would let her do all the writing she wants in her free time, but for school assignments I would back up a bit and focus on handwriting, and then copywork (which helps with spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.). I would help her spell words correctly for her school assignments, but I may be alone in my dislike of invented spelling. I mean, I wouldn't be upset with her for spelling a word wrong, but I would encourage her to ask for help with unknown words, because in my mind it's better for them to have the proper spelling from the beginning, so they don't get a wrong spelling stuck in their heads - does that make sense? But anyway, I wouldn't be "worried" about your dd, based on the writing samples posted here - I would just take a deep breath and work on the basics. And then, as I told Carin, just keep moving forward.
gratitude wrote:MFW1 and ADV does not have my kids writing even close to that much at the end of first and at the end of ADV. I am not sure what to say. I have been concerned that I am not doing enough for my kids for home schooling with my 4 little ones ages 8 and under.

Any encouragement ladies for a mom teaching a first and second grader! My kids hand writing is much further along, but they aren't writing paragraphs!
Carin, I replied to you in your other thread [ http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 439#p86359 ] before I saw this, but I just wanted to reiterate that every sentence your son copies with proper spelling and grammar and punctuation and all of that, makes a deeper impression in his brain of what good, correct writing is. and that will help him tremendously later when he is writing his own thoughts (and I wouldn't worry much about that before age 9 - beginning written narrations then, and then 4th grade when (if?) you start Writing Strands). You're on the right track - just keep going. It's all going to be okay.

:)
:)
Melissa
DD13
DS10
DS5
DS2

Sunshinestatemama
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by Sunshinestatemama » Wed May 02, 2012 1:09 pm

I only read the first response, but I will say that she does pretty good! Her 'owl' paper has nice handwriting and she spells pretty good, punctuation is good. That's my opinion. She does get a lot of letters backwards still but I know that can be common for a long time.

Trish said that "butfly" meant "butterfly" but I think it meant "beautiful". I just asked my 7 1/2 year old how she would spell "beautiful" and she spelled it "butiful".

All in all, I think your kiddo is doing pretty good, just needs some review (like all 1st graders do) and maybe an evaluation (if you think she needs it) for the possible dyslexia.

Oh, and I think that is a TON of writing for a 7 year old!

~Nicole

gratitude
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by gratitude » Fri May 04, 2012 8:46 am

For the OP: I agree with Melissa that during school time I would pull her back too, and have her start copying correct sentences. I also encourage them to always ask me for any spelling help they need, when doing their own writing, rather than spelling a word wrong.
MelissaM wrote:Carin, I replied to you in your other thread before I saw this, but I just wanted to reiterate that every sentence your son copies with proper spelling and grammar and punctuation and all of that, makes a deeper impression in his brain of what good, correct writing is. and that will help him tremendously later when he is writing his own thoughts (and I wouldn't worry much about that before age 9 - beginning written narrations then, and then 4th grade when (if?) you start Writing Strands). You're on the right track - just keep going. It's all going to be okay.
:)
Thank you Melissa! Thank you for your response on this thread and the other thread. Your response on the other thread helped give me the direction I need, as well as the encouragement I have been needing. I am just now reading the book titled, 'Charlotte Mason Companion'. It is helping so much in understanding more about the Charlotte Mason side of MFW. I can see though the wisdom behind the words that you are saying to practice writing through correct copy work. Copy work is in integral part of MFW starting in MFW1, and my other thread is helping me see how my kids brief sentences are brief but they are also correctly done through the practice they have had. Thank you for the reassurance! :-)

kentuckymom
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by kentuckymom » Wed May 09, 2012 1:08 pm

My son is currently in first grade in public school, and has been diagnosed as dyslexic (outside of school, his school won't even consider dyslexia as a possibility until 3rd grade, but that's a whole other discussion :)). We're tentatively planning to homeschool him with Adventures next year. As an aside for long time homeschoolers, I will say that most public schools expect A LOT of writing in first grade, and even kindergarten. It's quite possible that your daughter's errors are simply due to the fact that she wants to or is expected to write copious amounts, and moves too quickly to think through all the spelling.

Based on my experience with my son, however, I would say she has some symptoms of mild dyslexia. The "b" and "d" mixup is indeed common among non-dyslexics, but some her phonetic errors and syllable skips look a lot like the ones my son makes, and this is after a year of tutoring after school twice a week.

It's very possible, and some would say even better, to teach a dyslexic at home. Since your daughter is obviously making progress, I'd start with the programs other ladies here have recommend. If she doesn't progress at the rate you'd like, however or if, for instance, her reading improves but she still really struggles with spelling, I recommend considering a reading and spelling program written specifically for dyslexics. My son is working through Barton Reading and Spelling with a tutor (www.bartonreading.com), but the program is designed so that it can be used by a parent at home. A friend of mine is using it at home with her daughter with great success.

Another point regarding dyslexia is that many dyslexics (especially mild dyslexics) learn to read without special help, but struggle with spelling all their lives. My husband and brother (neither of whom were ever diagnosed, but who have all the symptoms of dyslexia) both went through public school and learned to read on or above level (with a bit of a delay), but still can't spell to save their lives. A program like Barton which teaches reading and spelling together will teach your child both reading and spelling skills. I know there are some older kids (middle and high school) who go to tutoring at the place where my son goes who were making it through the reading, but still having a horrible time with spelling. They tend to zip through the Barton program and it helps them immensely.

2girls2boysnme
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by 2girls2boysnme » Thu May 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Thanks everyone. Her 1st grade teacher and iep (reading teacher), don't think that she is dyslexic. She does some reversals, which her ps teacher feels are normal, and also inventive spelling. I don't know though, I agree with you that she does some classic vowel omissions, letter reversals, etc. I am going to go forward with my plan to hs her, and keep a close eye on it.

I think I am going to not stress about it, and just focus on a bit at a time like you all suggested. Thank you!!

Miriam
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by Miriam » Thu May 10, 2012 12:27 pm

I was going to get my daughter tested for dyslexia. I was able to talk to someone who does assessments and he gave me some great advice. He told me that with every child, their brain develops at different rates and sometimes the right and left side of the brain do not work too well. He suggested I work on her critical thinking skills using books from critical thinking press and use a game called www.afistfullofcoins.com that is meant to help the 2 sides of the brain to work together. My daughter is almost 7 and reading has been such a struggle that we have not been able to do MFW grade 1 phonics and right now when we do the bible notebook she tells me what to write and I write it down and she traces the words. We work on writing letters and a few words on a chalk board everyday so I can make sure she does it correctly. It has stressed out to no end this year, and frustrated me. But we are going to focus on games and critical thinking skills. I have already noticed that she can focus better is we do some critical thinking exercises before we do any school. Just thought I would put my 2 cents in.

kentuckymom
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Re: Opinions on my first grader's writing

Unread post by kentuckymom » Fri May 11, 2012 9:45 am

One other thought that may be of help. My son's tutor taught him some hand motions to help with the mixup of "b", "d", and "p". He doesn't always use them, but it does help when he does. This can help any emerging reader who struggles with letter reversal, dyslexic or not. I'll do my best to explain it in writing, though pictures would be better :).

The child should use her "helping hand" (the opposite of the one she writes with) to do the motions.

With your helping hand, form a fist with the thumb sticking out. Hold it in front of you with the thumb up and fingers facing you, saying, "balloons go up." It looks roughly like a lowercase b. Now turn the thumb down and say "pigs go down." It looks roughly like a lowercase p. From there, move your arm so the thumb is pointing up and the fist is pointing away from you and say, "dogs run away." It looks roughly like a lowercase d.

I hope that makes sense. I did each motion before I typed it, so I think it should be right. I should note that I did it with my left hand. If your daughter is left handed and doing the motions with her right hand, the fingers face away from her with balloons, and toward her with pigs and dogs.

cbollin

How do I know if my 2nd grader is doing o.k.?

Unread post by cbollin » Wed May 16, 2012 8:29 pm

klewfor3 wrote:I am just finishing Adventures with my second grader. Today we did lesson 79 in PLL. It was a dictation lesson...6 sentences that I dictated and he had to write. It was terrible for my ds. Many tears and much frustration. His spelling is bad and he doesn't want to try to sound anything out. I am struggling because he gets all his spelling words right on his spelling tests every week. I don't know whether I should be concerned or not. It is very clear to me that he is great at memorizing but really weak at knowing blends and spelling rules. Any websites or apps that anyone knows of that would help reinforce that spelling basics without being to childish for an 8 1/2 year old boy?

Also, it is hard for him to read silently to himself. I know LAST year, when he was enrolled in school, they were trying to build that skill (when he was in first grade). I just don't want him to get behind. As I am writing he is reading a star wars book out loud to himself...while I am so proud of him (since reading used to rank as high as taking out the trash)...I wish he could read the book quietly to himself and do it confidently.
right now... I would drop any dictation for 2nd grader and do it as copywork. Some 2nd graders aren't ready for all of the processes in dictation.
Next year in 3rd grade, when you try some more dictation again... . it's ok to give a word bank of tough words. and some people don't do dictation...

also, before a dictation lesson is started, look over the lesson together. Go ahead and you read it out loud to him while he is reading along. (have the book in front of you)
Read it a few times.
Make notes along the way of anything that is unusual (oh... this will have quotes.. let's see if we remember to put them in) (warning...controversial statement from me: when I was in high school French class and we did dictation, the teacher called out the punctuation. we were working on a 1st or 2nd grade level.. so I think it's ok to call out stuff for younger learners if needed. other people say no...)
make a word bank to look up the tough word to practice it properly.
other people like to practice a tough word or two on dry erase or out loud or something to get the word in the student's brain
now.. with that prep work, start the dictation lesson.

sounds like a lot... but dictation is hard stuff... build the skills...

spelling helps.. online.. games.. uh.. I've never used it. But I read posts out there where people like
spellingcity dot com
maybe?

not reading silently... (don't tell... but my middle child did that for a long time....) when I didn't want to hear it.. her stuffed animals and her real cat enjoyed it a lot. I don't know how or when she switched to silent reading with longer books... but I think saw me and others doing that and her voice got tired, so she did it too.. I have no clue on that...

-crystal

TriciaMR
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Re: How do I know if my 2nd grader is doing o.k.?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed May 16, 2012 9:52 pm

Like Crystal said.... My 2 second graders did all dictation as copywork this year. We get dictation in our spelling program, so I'm not that worried about it. Plus, I'd rather them not get the words stuck wrong in their heads. With my oldest, when she was in 3rd, we did like Crystal said... word banks of hard words, pointing out commas and quotes, and still calling them out. Also, probably not more than 3 sentences in one day. A longer dictation we would break into two or more days.

I think reading silently just happens. I have my kids read to me about 10-15 minutes a day, because two are dyslexic. My oldest loves to read (even though she is dyslexic), and sometime during 3rd grade started reading silently to herself. My boy who is not dyslexic will already read silently to himself. My boy who is dyslexic only reads the comics to himself, but you can still hear him whispering to himself (he doesn't like to read, but he tries to read the Sunday comics) sometimes, and he will ask me questions about what he is trying to read. Oh, and he'll try to read anything Star Wars or Lego related.

If spelling continues to be a problem for you next year, look into All About Spelling. I really like how it teaches phonics rules and spelling by syllable, etc.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Julie in MN
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Re: How do I know if my 2nd grader is doing o.k.?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed May 16, 2012 11:32 pm

When I see parents worrying over dictation, I sheepishly peak my head out and admit that we never did dictation. And my son has actually always tested pretty well. I just followed the lead of PLL and examined language with him. So not doing dictation didn't mean not doing anything - it just meant we discussed rather than getting out the dreaded pencil.

And as for reading silently, I think kids start doing it when they're ready to process info that way, and maybe it shouldn't be rushed? Warning, cute grandson story: One night I was reading as my grandson went to sleep and he came over and peered at my book, peered at my face, and asked what I was doing. I said I was reading. He looked back & forth again and said, "No, you're not. I see your mouth. It's not reading."

LOL
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(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: How do I know if my 2nd grader is doing o.k.?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Thu May 17, 2012 12:13 am

Julie in MN wrote:Warning, cute grandson story: One night I was reading as my grandson went to sleep and he came over and peered at my book, peered at my face, and asked what I was doing. I said I was reading. He looked back & forth again and said, "No, you're not. I see your mouth. It's not reading."
Oh, I'm in love. That is so cute!


In my opinion, dictation should be done after going over a passage together. I always point out every little thing. "Oh, here's a comma. And this is tricky because they use a semi-colon. Don't forget to use a capital letter here. This is a tough word to spell - look at it." Only after reviewing a paragraph or story would I ask my dd to write while I dictate. It's what works well for us (but my dd really, really likes to write). In 2nd grade, she was only writing 2-3 sentences for dictation.
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gratitude
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Re: How do I know if my 2nd grader is doing o.k.?

Unread post by gratitude » Thu May 17, 2012 12:36 am

Agreeing with the others that PLL dictation can be done as copy work. Last September when we started PLL I had my ds8 do it as copy work. About 1/2 way through the year I switched to dictation, BUT when we do dictation we only do one sentence a day. So a 6 sentence dictation, such as the one you just did, we take 6 days to do it. I do a little PLL each day so it works out as far as scheduling goes.

The others are correct though do copy work first, and then add in dictation. Usually copy work is done for at least one year, in many programs more years than one, before dictation. You mentioned that he was in school last year, which I am assuming would not have had copy work. So he missed the weekly copy work in MFW1 that leads into ADV. The other ladies are correct though dictation can easily come much later than ADV.

As for spelling we use All About Spelling that introduces one spelling rule each lesson, and they do suggest everyone starts at level 1. I don't know if it would help or not, but it has helped my ds8 learn his spelling rules.

He will get there. It sounds like some of these issues are making the transition from school to home. ((Hugs))

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