Jul 182014
 

Two Quick Tips Before Creating IEP Goals for Written Expression:

If your child struggles at all with the handwriting component of writing, be sure to check out the IEP Goals for Writing , Keyboarding and Copying for Students with Dysgraphia or Handwriting Difficulties too.

Measurable IEP Goals for Written Expression are needed for all writing skills. Therefore, you may also want to check out:
+ “How To Teach Handwriting to A Child with Dysgraphia.” And
+ “Help Your Child Learn Grammar Without Hating It!” too.

If your child can write more easily, then he is more likely to express himself well in writing.

How To Write Measurable IEP Goals for Written Expression

Even though your child’s IEP may specify a writing program for your child, you may find it difficult to determine if your child is making progress with written expression, which is where great IEP Goals for written expression become necessary.

You want to KNOW if your child is making progress in his ability to write. Therefore, you will need specific, measurable goals for writing in your child’s IEP, like the ones below. Since the example IEP goals for written expression will need to be tailored to meet your child’s specific needs, I’d like to first help you learn to construct good goals. Then the examples will make more sense. 😉

After learning how to write great IEP goals for written expression, use the examples below to craft great goals for your child, especially if he has dysgraphia or dyslexia.

Learning to write well involves highly integrated and complex mental processes for organizing the writing in the child’s mind. Your child must hold information in his brain, recall phonemes, syllables, and sight word spellings for writing. Then he has to use motor planning skills to get ideas into written form. At various stages of writing skill development, your child will need goals for each writing skill.

Your child may also have a lot difficulty with handwriting. Writing by hand might not enable him to express him at the same level of complexity at which he thinks. In such cases, it may be better to set goals for writing that include keyboarding, dictation to a scribe, or the use of dictation software.

In trying to help you understand how to write good, measurable goals, I have included sample IEP Goals for written expression below. There are goals for different skills used in writing.

For your child, you would want to write goals that are similarly worded. However, you’ll want to modify them so they are based upon your child’s current skill level.

To make good IEP Goals for written expression for your child, use the goals below as templates. You can add new goals like them or modify these goals in order to create great goals for your child’s IEP.

Examples of MEASURABLE IEP Goals for Written Expression:

For each writng assignment, [Child’s name] will independently create a keyword outline with a main topic and three supporting points as a basis for his essay.


For each essay assignment, [Child’s name] will use the keyword outline process to produce a written composition which contains paragraphs of at least three sentences each, an introduction, conclusion, and at least three supporting points in three different body paragraphs. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability in all content areas and all settings.

For each essay assignment, [Child’s name] will independently develop his ideas fully and will write passages that contain well developed main ideas. [Child’s name] will give at least 3 details in each paragraph. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability in all content areas and all settings for all written essays.

When assigned essays, [Child’s name] will independently develop his ideas, he will create five-paragraph essays with proper essay structure using Dragon Naturally Speaking software to dictate his ideas to the computer. [Child’s name] will demonstrate the ability to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate essays in all class subjects.

Given general curriculum writing assignments, [Child’s name] will edit his writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. [Child’s name] will have fewer than 2 overlooked errors per 250 words, without assistance. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability across all settings.

If your child is struggling with writing, you’ll need to consider writing goals for all of the skills into your child’s IEP Goals for written expression.

IEP Goals for Writing

Keep in mind, when writing, your child must hold information in his head, then process it in his working memory. Your child must use fine motor skills and good executive planning to get his ideas into written form. Thus, you’ll want to consider all of these necessary skills when creating IEP goals for written expression for your child.

Don’t forget to check out the IEP Goals for Writing, Keyboarding and Copying for Students with Dysgraphia or Handwriting Difficulties too. Keyboarding and handwriting are critical as written expression skills as well.

You may ALSO want to check out Assistive Technology for kids with dysgraphia or writing difficulties. Including the use of assistive technology in your IEP goals for written expression will set your child up for better long-term success.

Check related IEP Goals :

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization Skills and ADHD
IEP Goals for Reading
IEP Goals for Spelling
IEP Goals for Copying

backward in iep training iep goals for written expressionIEP Goals for written expression forward in iep training


Jan 302014
 

If your child has dyslexia or dysgraphia, then spelling and writing ARE going to be difficult for your child. However, there is a really quick way to improve your child’s written expression in a very short time period, but I know some mommas aren’t going to like this quick trick!


Why Your Child Struggles Mightily With Written Expression:

Reading requires recognition skills (your child sees the word and then figures it out), but writing (and spelling) require much more involved mental processes because your child has to hold a LOT of information in his head:

  • the sentence he wants to write with each word in the right order,
  • he has to figure out how to spell each word while still holding the sentence in his brain,
  • then he has to physically go through the process of recalling how to write each letter,
  • write the word, letter-by-letter,
  • write each sentence word-by-word, and
  • write the paragraph sentence-by-sentence .. while holding it all in his head.

As you can see, if a child has working memory deficits, then writing can be a very arduous and difficult task!

Words, phrases, or thoughts are lost while your child is trying to hold everything in his head long enough to write things down. That is why a child will write poorly organized sentences that sometimes don’t even make sense.

Quick Trick for Written Expression Improvement:

One way to improve your child’s written expression quickly is to completely separate handwriting from written composition. I go into depth about this concept in my upcoming book, “Help Your Child Overcome Dyslexia At Home,” which will be published this year (I’ll let you know when it is released), but I thought I’d share this tip with my readers so you all will be in the know NOW.

The trick is to let your child dictate what he wants to write to you (who becomes his scribe) OR use dictation software (speech-to-text, which can be more difficult to use with speech issues) when your child is creating a composition–an essay or a story.

By letting your bright child dictate as a way of getting thoughts on paper, it will bring out your child’s creative mind and ability to compose better essays and stories.

The only thing your child has to think of is what he wants to say. Your child can tell you or the computer what he wants to say a lot quicker and easier than he can physically write it down.

I hear the worry alarm going off in some moms’ heads:

Do not worry. Using this common accommodation will not impair your child in the long run.. Your child needs to master the phonemes, how to spell, and how to physically write before trying to integrate it all together in well-written sentences and paragraphs.

Given how difficult writing is for kids with dyslexia and dysgraphia, mastery of each individual piece of writing is the key to your child’s proficient writing by hand. Once your child has mastered all of the pieces, then the ability to write a composition by hand will improve.

Therefore, it is often helpful to teach each piece totally separately from the other pieces.

Examples of Task Separation

For example, for handwriting, use a method of copying from a book so your child can FOCUS on handwriting as the only skill he is trying to master at that moment.

When your child is working on learning the phonemes, let your child work on the isolated skill of hearing the sound and recognizing the letters that go with that sound to the point of mastery.

By separating each writing skill component from the others, you can work with your child on that individual piece until your child MASTERs that skill. What does mastery look like? Or How do you know your child has mastered the skill?

Basically, mastery is demonstrated when your child can rapidly, without hesitating, respond or use a skill correctly. For example, if you ask your child how to spell “when” and he rapidly responds w-h-e-n, then he has mastered the spelling of that word. If your child pauses, says, “Ummmm, w (pause) h (pause) e (pause) n,” then he has not mastered the spelling of “when” because he had to think about it as he was spelling the word.

(Incidentally, spelling is the biggest nemesis of all for most kids with dyslexia, which I also talk about in my upcoming book).

Does the way I’ve explained the separation of each writing-based skill make sense? It’s basically breaking all of the elements in your instruction apart so that the task of writing is not so overwhelmingly complex that your child isn’t able to simultaneously manage all of the pieces that go into writing.

Summing it Up

I said some mommas aren’t going to like the solution because I know becoming your child’s scribe can be time consuming and requires your undivided attention. Using dictation software requires a purchase and training the software to function on behalf of your child.

Sometimes these solutions can be difficult depending upon other demands on your time and budget, but I did want you to be aware of why your child struggles mightily with writing, and the quickest way to improve his written expression.

I hope this tip helps! If nothing else, give it a try when your child is trying to compose a story or an essay.  You may be surprised by how well your child can express his self in writing when someone or something else is transcribing the words onto paper!

Aug 042013
 

Specific, measurable, IEP Goals for Writing , keyboarding and copying with Example IEP Goals For Your Child

In addition to grabbing the example IEP Goals for Writing for copying and keyboarding below, you may want to check out the How-to Teach Handwriting to a Child with Dysgraphia, including Curriculum suggestions page. It will give you a deeper understanding of how handwriting difficulties are best addressed.

For a child with dysgraphia, learning to write by hand often requires a period of “copying” to master letter formation and placement. Copying texts eliminates the massive brain processes required to think of what to write, hold it in mind and get it onto paper. It’s a lot easier to copy. It separates a lot of the memory-based processes from the physical act of writing.

When copying, your child can focus solely on the process of handwriting itself. That means including copying skills in the IEP Goals for Writing for any child with dysgraphia or handwriting difficulties is important. This is true whether the child is learning to write by hand or learning to use a keyboard.

If your child has handwriting or written expression difficulties, you can use the example IEP goals for writing below as references.  Use the main concept and measure-ability of the goal samples to create goals that match your child’s current needs.

Here are some example, MEASURABLE IEP Goals for Writing , for Keyboarding and Copying:

Given typical 5th grade written text, [Child’s name] will copy texts using a Typing Program or word processor with speed tracking capability at 60 characters per minute with fewer than 2 keystroke errors per 100 characters typed. Successful completion on 10 consecutive tries is required for this goal to be mastered.

Using the characters on the keyboard home row, [Child’s name] will use touch-typing skills (not looking at the keyboard or his fingers) to copy strings of home row characters a, s, d, f, g, h, j, k, l. [Child’s name] will type at 50 c.p.m. with 95% accuracy. Successful completion on 10 consecutive tries is required for this goal to be mastered.

[Child’s name] will utilize correct finger placement, and without looking at his hands or the keys, [Child’s name] will touch type all letters of the alphabet in order with no errors. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability across all settings. [Child’s name] will demonstrate successful completion on 10 consecutive tries for this goal to be mastered.

Using the Type To Learn program (or any other similar software), [Child’s name] will type copied words with 95% accuracy in all settings at a rate of:
· 30 characters per minute (c.p.m.) by November
· 40 characters per minute (c.p.m.) by February
· 50 characters per minute (c.p.m.) by March

Given typical 5th grade expressive writing assignments, [Child’s name] will directly type his thoughts into a typing program / word processor at 60 characters per minute while maintaining readability.

ANNUAL GOAL: Given classroom copying tasks from any media, [Child’s name] will accurately copy 60 characters per minute from the blackboard or a textbook. [Child’s name] will maintain a 97% accuracy (fewer than 3 copying errors per 100 characters). [Child’s name] will demonstrate this skill across all settings.

Given near-point copying tasks, [Child’s name] will accurately copy with fewer than 3 copying errors per 100 characters copied:



· 30 characters per minute by October.
· 40 characters per minute by January.
· 50 characters per minute by March.
· 60 characters per minute by May.

Given far-point copying tasks, [Child’s name] will accurately copy with fewer than 3 copying errors per 100 characters copied:
· 30 characters per minute by October.
· 40 characters per minute by January.
· 50 characters per minute by March.
· 60 characters per minute by May.

Given new information in content areas, [Child’s name] will accurately use graphic organizers and templates to record information for far-point copying (vocabulary and organizers will be provided prior to copy task).

While monitoring for progress is not the same as actually teaching a child how to copy or keyboard, the practice can be closely monitored for meaningful progress.

These IEP Goals for Writing are rather precise because correct copying and keyboarding is something that can be precisely measured. The skills can be easily monitored for meaningful progress. Therefore, precise IEP Goals for Writing , for keyboarding and copying allow everyone to monitor a child’s progress.

You may ALSO want to check out Assistive Technology for kids with dysgraphia or handwriting difficulties. Including the use of assistive technology in your IEP Goals for writing will set your child up for better long-term success.

Check related IEP Goals :

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization Skills and ADHD
IEP Goals for Reading
IEP Goals for Spelling
IEP Goals for Written Expression

backward in iep training IEP Goals for Writing forward in iep training


Aug 022013
 

How do you know if your child has a writing disability?

Return to Questions

Q: My child can read, but has difficulty writing. Is it possible my child has a writing disability or dysgraphia?

Answer:


Generally speaking, dyslexia and dysgraphia are closely related learning disabilities that show up in a child’s writing. Either one can lead to your child being diagnosed with a writing disability.

Dyslexia affects a child’s ability to learn to read,  dysgraphia affects a child’s  ability express his self in writing. A similar learning disability, called dyscalculia, affects a child’s ability to perform mathematical calculations.

Often a child has difficulty in one or more of these areas, but typically one area of learning is notably more severe. For example, your child may struggle a LOT with reading, or with writing, or with math.  Your child may struggle with all three areas, but one area is usually the most severe.

With a reading or writing disability, the problems are dependent upon the severity of your child’s underlying skill problems as well as your child’s overall IQ. For example, a child who has severe dyslexia and an average IQ may not be able to read or write.

However, a child with a very high IQ and dyslexia may develop great coping skills and not seem to have much of a disability until schoolwork demands exceed his natural writing abilities. When the underlying skills are related to dyslexia-based learning issues, but a child can read, the child is said to have “stealth” dyslexia.  The dyslexia is “hidden”.

It may appear that your child reads well enough to not have dyslexia, but he may struggle with writing because of underlying dyslexia issues. Your child may have an isolated writing disability, but that is less common than having dyslexia.

Since your child can read well, I would say.. Yes, your child probably has dysgraphia.  However, you should seek a comprehensive evaluation by a highly qualified neuropsychologist or other professional to be sure you know the root causes of your child’s writing problems.

Having an evaluation will help you know how to meet your child’s needs.  If your child has dysgraphia, it could be rooted in phonemic awareness issues (related to dyslexia), fine motor difficulties, processing difficulties, working memory deficits, or executive functioning deficits. You really won’t know the root cause of your child’s writing disability without an evaluation.

If your child has difficulty with fine motor skills, specifically handwriting, then you’ll probably want to start with a handwriting curriculum created for kids with dysgraphia as  a better choice for helping your child.

You may also find it beneficial to teach your child keyboarding skills using software programs that teach typing skills. There are any number of good typing programs for younger children.

A lot of parents like like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing for middle school or high school aged children. About 15 minutes per day will suffice for advancement, but the work must be done daily or your child will lose some of the progress that was made.

Also, for a child with dysgraphia, it is often difficult for them to formulate their ideas, organize them in their mind, then go through the physical process of putting the information onto paper. It is too much information for their brains to process and hold simultaneously and they loose their thoughts in the process of trying to write.  If your child has memory, processing, or executive function deficits, daily use of a cognitive enhancement program could really help your child.

Children with writing disabilities can often dictate wonderful ideas, stories, and answers to questions when handwriting is taken out of the equation. Thus, you do not want to slow your child’s learning in all other subject areas by requiring tedious amounts of writing by hand.  Your child will benefit by having a scribe until he can write fluently or by using dictation software to dictate his ideas into a word processor.  Once your child’s dysgraphia is remediated, writing will be easier, even if your child continues to have a written expression writing disability.

As your child gets older, if his writing disability continues to be a problem, and written expression is a struggle, using speech to text softwareassistive technology for a writing disability can become critical. Dictation software allows your child to express his thoughts in writing without all of the heavy-duty brain-work required for writing.

Using speech to text software can enable your child to perform at his level of thinking ability. Going around your child’s writing disability can go a long way in helping your child be successful with school.

Hope that helps!
Sandy

Return to Questions

Jul 102013
 

DO you need a Writing program for Dysgraphia?
Do you need a visual and/or hands-on method for teaching writing skills to your child?

Recommended homeschooling writing programs for children who struggle with writing, written expression or dysgraphia


Can you teach your child at home? YES! When your child has learned to write letters with proper formation, spacing, and with relative ease, you will undoubtedly want to develop his writing skills more fully. This section will help you explore the options for home remediation through inexpensive writing programs and to help your child overcome a dislike for writing.

Dysgraphia and Written Expression Difficulties

Are you unsure whether your child has dysgraphia? Does your child reverse numbers and letters, have trouble with spacing, letter size, writing straight, or hate writing? These symptoms may indicate your child has a developmental problem called is dysgraphia, and/or may have fine motor difficulties that contribute to difficulty with writing. This page will help you learn more about dysgraphia.

Handwriting Programs for a Child with Dysgraphia

The writing programs recommended in this section are designed to help you teach the skill of handwriting using incremental and simple teaching methods. If your child has fine motor skills delays, it may be beneficial to seek Occupational Therapy services, however there are several good writing programs for working with your child at home.

writing programs

Grammar, Spelling and Language Arts programs for children with learning disabilities

Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other matters of mechanics are important for helping your child convey his or her thoughts well. This section provides information on writing programs suitable for teaching these skills to your child.

Writing Assistive Technology for Children who have Dysgraphia

For any child that struggles with writing, whether from handwriting or difficulties with composition, using assistive technology can enable a child to stay on grade level in other content-based subjects. Since you are homeschooling your learning abled child, you have the ability to easily implement and use assistive technology to help your child. You might also want to check out this brief guide to assistive technology for children with dysgraphia.
Thanks be to God for all my blessings on Earth.

Jul 102013
 

Writing Assistive Technology can help your child SUCCEED with composition writing.

Does your child struggle with writing and spelling in spite of educational help?
Have you reached a point where continuing to work on basic writing skills seems fruitless?

Guess what? There’s HOPE with Writing Assistive Technology!

Providing your child with writing assistive technology will help your child create great written compositions. His responses match his thought levels because Writing Assistive Technology can encourage your child to write more.


Writing Assistive Technology is a great way to let your learning abled child work at grade level in science, social studies, and language arts when he’s not specifically working on developing his writing skills as a separate instructional area.

Let me share some of the Writing Assistive Technology tools we have used.  One of my favorite products for spelling correction is Ginger’s writing solution. Ginger is spelling and grammar checking software. Having Ginger is like having an interpreter for dyslexia-speak built into a word processor. There are very few phonetic spellings my son creates which Ginger cannot adequately interpret.

Another great tool is Speech-To-Text software. A lot of PC’s have this built-in capability. You have to have a built-in microphone, headset, or separate microphone to utilize this writing assistive technology. The biggest trick is finding the software on your computer and activating it. You can usually find this software somewhere under the configuration options for the display on your PC. The speech-to-text function is usually provided as an “accessibility” feature. You will need to check with your specific PC manufacturer to find the exact location.
Writing Assistive Technology
You can always purchase Speech-To-Text software too.  We use Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software. This software has been on the market a long time, and probably does the best possible job of translating spoken text into written text. Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software, like all speech-to-text software, requires ‘training’ time. In order to function properly, the software has to be used by the dictator (your child). Then misspellings have to be corrected manually for a short period of time before the program will consistently type out whatever your child dictates. It takes a little time and patience to get the software properly set.

Unfortunately, person who will be using the software has to do the training. That means it can be a frustrating experience for your child. I think it is easier for teens to be reasoned with regarding the temporary frustration in training the software. However, once the software has been trained to recognize your child’s speech, it is a great writing assistive technology tool!!

These two writing assistive technology tools are both used in conjunction with a good word-processor. WordPerfect and Microsoft Word are probably the two most popular word processors. Either of the writing assistive technology tools above can be used with either word processor. If you happen to have an Apple computer, you can get Microsoft Word for the Apple computers. Ginger Keyboard Software app is available for Apple’s iOS. Pair that Ginger app with an Apple iPad for portable writing assistive technology.

An Apple Laptop computer with Microsoft Word and Dragon Dictate for Apple computers plus Ginger’s revolutionary writing solution will be the best possible set-up for your learning abled kid to become an independent writer using writing assistive technology.

Personally, I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop computer. It has been a great workhorse and I use Dragon Naturally Speaking software on it as my own writing assistive technology! It’s almost five years old and I haven’t had a single bit of trouble with it. Other brands I’ve had haven’t lasted this long.

If you need additional information and curricula for helping your child overcome his dysgraphia, check out Two Great Writing Programs for Homeschooling a Child with a Written Expression Learning Disability (Dysgraphia) and Curricula for Homeschooing and Teaching Handwriting to a Child with Dysgraphia.

Jul 102013
 

Learning Handwriting For A Child with Dysgraphia.

If your child has dysgraphia, you know teaching your child to write legibly is difficult.

Even when your child works hard learning handwriting, progress can seem minimal.

Writing a readable composition is affected by two components of dysgraphia:

One is handwriting and the other is the organization and planning of good writing.


If your child has difficulty in either handwriting or organizing the writing, he will have difficulty writing. This is true even when your child is writing short stories or compositions. 

If your child’s difficulty is with learning handwriting, he may have difficulty with visual-motor integration, fine motor skills, etc. This page will focus on methods and curriculum for children who have difficulty with the physical task of learning handwriting.

First, let’s talk briefly about dysgraphia causing difficulty with organization skills and planning. When writing is badly spaced and sized, there can be a problem area like a deficit in executive functioning disorder. Executive functioning affects organization skills, sequencing, planning, etc. 

If your child needs help with the content of his writing, then it will be helpful for you to refer to the Recommended composition writing curriculum for homeschooling children with learning disabilities.

NOW, let’s talk about the isolated task of learning handwriting and how a child with dysgraphia can be helped more effectively.

Children with dysgraphia often hate writing by time they are diagnosed. Because of this, it is often a good idea to separate writing essays from learning handwriting. Find other fun ways of working on writing skills without actually having your child handwriting the essay. Let your child dictate to you, record an essay in a digital recorder, or use other assistive technology for dysgraphia.

In order to work on your child’s physical skills, starting with large format maze puzzles can be more fun than actually learning handwriting. If you start with large formats, your child can see how to get through the maze easily. Slowly move towards smaller, more difficult and complex mazes. This will help your child make progress in the skill areas necessary for handwriting without forcing the issue of learning handwriting. Most kids don’t even know working mazes is a way of working on learning handwriting!

Given your child’s needs to learn fine muscle control, using a pen or pencil to work through mazes can give your child lots of practice in a fun format. This type of practice is almost always more effective for kids who “hate to write”.

To build handwriting dexterity, I recommend starting with books like these:
Kindergarten Mazes: Simple Mazes For Kids

As your child’s ability to use a pencil improves, you may want to switch to books that provide more precise practice like these:
Maze Books for Kids

Another method for learning handwriting skills is through Multisensory activities. Handwriting with soap on a large flat pan, with a finger on velvet, with gross body movements with a large chalkboard, in a sand tray, etc. are all fun ways for learning handwriting.

If you have your child work on drawing in a pan with his finger, you can work on spelling through multi-sensory activities at the same time. You can help with both handwriting and spelling simultaneously.

Try to think of creative ways to let your child “play” with his school work. Building fun into learning handwriting will make the task of overcoming LD issues more rewarding along the way.

Learning Handwriting Separately from Writing

For any child with dysgraphia, learning handwriting and composition is very effortful. It takes a lot of brain processing to hold a written composition in your mind while figuring out what you want to say, organizing it, recalling the spelling, and writing each word, word-by-word, until you get the whole composition placed beautifully on a piece of paper.

For a child who has dysgraphia, there are often difficulties with working memory, phonemic awareness, graphomotor abilities, or other critical skills. Therefore, expecting great handwriting in written compositions is often unrealistic.

For best results, separating learning handwriting completely from writing compositions (written expression) usually enables the child to have better outcomes in each task. Using keyboarding, copying tasks, or a handwriting program is usually the best option for improving a child’s ability to get his thoughts onto paper in a legible fashion.

Written expression, or composition writing, should be addressed totally separately from learning handwriting. Check out the Written Expression Woes and What To Do About Them page for ideas about teaching written expression to a child with dysgraphia or handwriting difficulties.

Handwriting Programs for Kids Who Struggle

**Handwriting for Kids – This website provides printable guides for children learning to print or write cursive. The handwriting practice materials at this site are ‘traditional’ and not designed specifically for a child with learning disabilities. If you are looking for an inexpensive handwriting curriculum, this site is a great resource. However, it does not provide materials specific to teaching a child who is having difficulty with letter and number formation.

**Handwriting Help for Kidslearning handwriting – This program provides visual and verbal strategies for learning handwriting. The program was created by occupational therapists, so it is well-suited for kids who have difficulty with their grapho-motor (handwriting) skills. Children “swim, surf, and sail” their way through learning cursive writing. This program is a great way to allow your child to have fun while learning to write.

**Handwriting Without Tearslearning handwriting – This is the main program we used in the beginning. With this program, my child who HATES writing said that Cursive Writing was his favorite subject! Handwriting Without Tears is simple and very easy to follow. The directions are clear and the children can easily determine what to do. Handwriting Without Tears is successful because it simplifies learning handwriting. It builds on basic pencil strokes in order to form letters, and the program keeps the writing style simple.

**Italic Handwriting Books – We used this program as well. The Handwriting Without Tears program was great for getting started, but didn’t provide enough practice to actually overcome the issues with grapho-motor difficulties. The Italic series is easy to use because the letter formation is relatively simple (without much in the way of ornate decorative elements). It is easier for a child with handwriting difficulties to copy the letters than it is with some forms of handwriting that are more ornate.

**Audiblox – This is a program that addresses some of the underlying issues that contribute to dysgraphia. While this is not a program for learning handwriting, many of the skill deficits addressed through the program can help make a child’s writing more legible. This program will help with sequential planning (as needed in spelling), letter size, letter spacing, focus, etc.

You may want to check out these Free Downloadable Workbooks:

Spelling for Writing Workbooks – Downloadable from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ by entering the document number into the search box.

These workbooks begin with learning handwriting in conjunction with simple spelling exercises.

Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 1. (ED451543) – document number ED451543
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 2. (ED451545) – document number ED451545
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 3. (ED451547) – document number ED451547
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 4. (ED451548) – document number ED451548
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 5. (ED451549) – document number ED451549
ED451542 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 1. (ED451542)
ED451544 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 2. (ED451544)
ED451546 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 3. (ED451546)
ED448460 – Spelling for Writing: Instructional Strategies. (ED448460)

Jul 102013
 

Composition Writing Can Be FUN!

If your child “hates” composition writing, you will want to SERIOUSLY consider the Institute for Excellence In Writing (IEW) Student Writing Intensive (SWI) courses and **Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course (SWICC).

I can’t possibly describe the IEW programs adequately enough. Although the SWI course was sent to me for review, I personally purchased the SWICC for our use. We had such great success with composition writing by using the first level.


The Institute for Excellence In Writingcomposition writing‘s programs are the best of all I’ve used for converting reluctant writers into willing writers.

IEW’s step-by-step, detailed instruction is so straight-forward and kid-friendly, that I believe most kids can use the IEW process for composition writing. After years of beating my head on the wall, using several different programs, the Student Writing Intensive is the first program we’ve used that my kids LIKED. They showed significant progress in their composition writing!

IEW’s owner, Andrew Pudewa, was formerly a reluctant writing. He has an engaging teaching style that lets the students know they are not alone in their dread for composition writing. Mr. Pudewa has broken the composition writing process down into a straight-forward, step-by-step process which makes sense to anyone. His teaching videos make the process easy for YOU–the homeschooling parent. Having Mr. Pudewa as your kids instructor means they have the best instructor they can possibly get. Plus, since the teaching is on video, you will have a teacher who will repeat himself over-and-over as many times as you wish to play the DVD!

After finding and using the IEW courses, we had no need to look ANY further. The Student Writing Intensive (SWI) and Continuation courses were HIGHLY effective in bringing forward my reluctant high school boys’ writing abilities. In fact, my sons have been able to complete English 101 and 102 through joint enrollment with A’s (your results may vary ;-)).

Another good program for kids who are reluctant about composition writing is Brave Writer‘s program called “The Writer’s Jungle.” I reviewed and used from a misprint copy sent to me for review. From the moment it came out of the box, I couldn’t help but love this program.

With chapter names like “Machette Mechanics” and “Dumb Assignments”, you automatically become engaged in wanting to know more. When it comes to composition writing, who among us can’t hear her child saying, “This is so dumb”?

So, let’s move ‘write’ along the road and talk about the “dumb” assignments.. That is what I like most about Writer’s Jungle is that it isn’t a curriculum at all. The path you will take through The Writer’s Jungle is a journey you take lovingly with your child. When you emerge from the jungle, you will have a composition writing standing beside you. The Writer’s Jungle is a recipe for teaching composition writing with love–a recipe for creating a creative writer.

Julie Bogart, the program’s author, approaches composition writing from a published writer’s perspective, not as a teacher using a traditional curriculum. Julie’s passion for writing comes through in every page of The Writer’s Jungle. She loves to see writer’s bloom, and her program will help you grow your own composition writier.

The Writer’s Jungle will take you a long a path to progressively teach your child a love of composition writing. You’ll start with basic language skills–communicating through talking. By keying into language as a communication skill, you can take the steps outlined in the Jungle to help your child get her ideas on paper. Building on ideas and learning to focus on expression will help your child begin to to appreciate writing as a way for him to express himself. The path is easy and the burden is light as you walk through the Writer’s Jungle with your child. So, go check out The Writer’s Jungle and stop trying to drag your child along the writing road in shackles.

Another great composition writing program that a lot of parents like is Essentials in Writing (EIW). Like IEW’s programs, EIW’s program has teaching DVDs where Matthew Stephens teaches composition writing in a step-by-step manner also, with the key difference being smaller bites for this program over IEW’s programs.  I’ve had a couple of parents indicate their child was better able to digest the teaching in Essentials in Writing. 

Therefore, depending upon how significant your child’s writing disabilities are, you may find EIW’s program a better fit than IEW’s programs. I’ve not personally used nor reviewed a hard-copy of this program, so I cannot attest to it’s effectiveness for specific learning styles or for children with dysgraphia, but I welcome any input you have to share if you use this program.

Lastly, the Lost Tools of Writing is a specific, sequential composition writing program. The Lost Tools of Writing uses a classical approach to writing. It will carry your child through three stages of writing. Like the IEW and EIW programs, Lost Tools uses a teaching video followed by composition writing assignments as practice for your child. This program is not as widely popular, but again–different kids respond better to different teachers, so Lost Tools of Writing may be the program your child responds to best.

Whichever program you choose to teach your child composition writing, take the program at your child’s pace of learning. Don’t be in a hurry for complex compositions. Letting your child learn to express himself naturally when writing will help you avoid bigger problems with composition writing down the road.