Reluctant Writers

For some children, back-to-school signals back to frustration with writing. Difficulties with speech, language and reading are often inextricably linked to struggles with writing. Writing places so many different demands on the cognitive system that it is no wonder our children with speech-language disorders have particular difficulty with writing. Some have trouble formulating letters and therefore, their writing speed is greatly reduced, whereas others have difficulty getting started with writing due to problems formulating coherent sentences. Short-term memory deficits are often to blame for poor writing outcomes. It is important to begin remedial writing instruction with an assessment of the child’s current writing skills. Reviewing a child’s portfolio of written work that includes drafts of classroom work and homework assignments can be very helpful in determining their current writing status. Understanding a child’s narrative skills – spoken and written- is helpful when setting goals for improvement. When I work with children on writing, we always begin by talking and telling stories. Once their oral narrative skills improve, writing becomes much easier and definitely more enjoyable.

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