The following is a guest post written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.
For whatever reason, some kids hate to write.
I don’t mean they dislike it, or they’d rather not today, thank you. No, I’m talking about those kids for whom writing “The cat sat on the mat,” requires the physical effort and mental stamina of climbing Pike’s Peak (but probably with a lot more fussing, whining, crying and arguing).
These kids aren’t faking: writing is genuinely difficult for them. (Especially when they’re young, and especially for boys.)
Your challenge as a teacher, a parent, and an academic coach is to keep their disdain for handwriting from turning into a hatred of school, which happens all too often because the thing they hate most (handwriting) permeates every subject.
Thankfully, most writing haters get over it–without intervention–by 4th or 5th grade.
But until then, these tips will help you — and your child — cope.
9 tips for doing school with a kid who hates to write
1. As far as you can, eliminate the writing in every subject but writing.
The goal is simply to master the material.
2. Do the work out loud.
Instead of written worksheets, try oral drills for math facts, phonics, translations, fill-in-the-blanks, paragraph summaries, etc. Or, do the worksheet but do it out loud.
3. Use stickers.
If your child is completing a worksheet, try writing the answers on small stickers in advance. Your student can then place the correct sticker in the appropriate spot for his answer. (This has the advantage of feeling like a game.)
4. Make it a matching game.
With a little advance work on your part, your child can match up Spanish nouns with their meanings, coins with their names, states with their capitals, dates with historical facts, and anything else you can think of.
5. Play “secretary” for your student.
They dictate, you record. This lets your creative child get their stories, summaries, or science observations out of their head and onto paper.
6. Get creative with spelling word practice.
To practice “writing” spelling words, let your child “spell” the words with his finger in a shallow container of rice, sand, beans, or water. No paper or pencil required.
7. Consider starting typing early.
8. When your kid must write, equip them with coping strategies to help them handle it better, or let them find their own.
My writing-haters self-soothed by swinging, spinning and sprinting down the driveway, preferably before and after handwriting time.
9. Make the writing easier:
- Switch to markers or smoothly gliding pens.
- Ditch the paper for a dry erase board. This giant white board has been a game-changer for our school. (I’m not sure we could have handled long division without it.) Individual boards are portable and take up much less space.
These tips and tricks require a little extra work on your part to implement. But if your writing hater still loves school (well, except for handwriting class) I hope you’ll agree with me: it’s worth it.
Do you have (or have you had) a student who hates to write? We need your tips, tricks and coping strategies!