Do you have a child who struggles with their writing or who hash messy writing? This post offers tips for improving writing in older children and discusses a learning disability called Dysgraphia.
My son has struggled with writing throughout his education. In fact, he was diagnosed with Dysgraphia back in his primary grades. Dysgraphia is a learning disability related to writing and fine motor skills. My son’s writing was really messy, he would mix up the letter in a word, and he really had a hard time getting the ideas in his head down on paper. Some looked upon this issues as laziness, but it’s a real disability. My son lacked confidence in his school work and his performance in school suffered. He was embarrassed to have his messy work displayed at school.
During his early years we did a variety of exercises and activities to help strengthen his fingers and to get him more comfortable with writing. We worked with an expert on Dysgraphia and with an occupational therapist. As he aged, he didn’t want to work with anyone and considered many of the writing activities too childish. We had to come up with more age appropriate activities to help him. I am going to share some of these activities for you to use with your struggling writer.
Fine motor exercises – Strengthening hands and fingers will help a kid with writing, playing an instrument, and other fine motor activities. OT Mom has come up with several simple fine motor activities that appeal to older children. Here my son is holding a rice pad with his finger tips, crumpling paper, and walking a tennis ball up his leg with his finger tips to improve his strength.
Write daily – Have your child write for 10 or more minutes a day. They can write about whatever they want. They don’t even have to share it with you. Just get them into the habit of writing.
Read daily – Set aside time for your child to read each day. They can read anything just as long as they are reading. Reading exposes the student to a variety of writing styles and inspires them to write. Below are a few of my son’s well read, well worn books.
Use graph paper – As kids get older their math problems get longer. Kids who struggle with writing often struggle with math work too. Have them write out their math problems on graph paper. The little boxes help keep things lined up and organized. If the kid doesn’t want to attach the graph paper to their assignment, they can carefully copy the work onto their original paper.
Use erasable pen – Pencils are great because you can erase your work to fix mistakes and messes, but as students get older they will likely be required to use pen on their school work. Do you know how many times my son had to start over or got marked down for messy work? Now he uses an erasable pen. Pilot has erasable pens that write smooth and erase clean. Seriously clean!
This fantastic pen is the FriXion Clicker pen. Even my daughter, who has beautiful writing, likes these pens because she can erase mistakes. She loves to write, but gets stressed out by mistakes. I picked up a few 3-packs of these pens at Target. You can get 20% off the FriXion Clicker pen 3-pack Assorted and FriXion Clicker pen 3-pack Black from 8/23 – 8/29. See this week’s Target Circular.
With each purchase of Pilot’s FriXion Clicker erasable gel ink pens, you help Pilot fund and support STOMP Out Bullying programs. These programs ‘erase’ negative bullying behaviors and ‘rewrite’ positive, productive solutions. During 2015 and 2016, Pilot will make a minimum $125,000 donation to STOMP Out Bullying. Additional funds will be donated by Pilot, if annual sales goals are exceeded. Get some of these pens and help erase bullying!
Writing is still my son’s least favorite activity, but he has accepted his limitations and gained confidence. What have you done to help your child that is challenged by writing or organization?