Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Writing and the inimicable Mr J

We're having a bit of trouble with J at the moment. 

He is really struggling with writing - he has no uniformity in how he forms his letters, they are hard to read, lots are reversed and he is very reluctant to do more than a sentence.

For ages this held us back - both he physically and me mentally - because I wanted him to be able to write at least legibly before we moved to more complex written work.  There is only so much "fill in the blank" stuff I can come up with.

We've tried various times going back to the start, with page after page of letters, but it just hasn't stuck.

He has a new workbook - with Maths English and Science in it - and he is quite happy to go for that at the moment.  We began (as you do) with the first page - place value and ordering numbers.  He got fed up and we managed 2/3 of the page, before moving on to some reading of his book club book (which is a good history book, so involved more than just reading). 

The next day we tried again, and barely managed to finish the page we'd left partly done.  We moved on to the first English exercise, and I said I would write for him. 

Well blow me down! The page was about homophones - and J could pick them all out, spot which should be used when and aced the page - in about five minutes flat.  This was things like pick eight or ate to complete a sentence.  Then we turned to the science section, and he whizzed through that too. 

It took me aback a bit - here he was doing complex tasks, spelling words like carbohydrate perfectly, but he still can't get the J in his name the right way around . . .

I don't think J is dyslexic - he spells really well, one of his quirks is to spell words rather than say them and his reading is very strong - I wonder if he has dysgraphia perhaps though.  So - yay! - more research is on the cards.

We have settled to a plan for now - J is using a cursive handwriting book, it has started with very basic letter forms, but builds quickly into words.  He can see that he needs to form the letters just so in order for them to link, and he seems to be trying hard.  We will still use the other book, but I will do most of the writing there.

It seems, therefore that just as with L 8 years ago, we need to separate learning from written work.  For L it was because of dyslexia and his difficulty reading and spelling.  For J just the writing.  I am wondering if using a PC would be a good move, or if it will just mean he does even less writing.

Much to ponder, and I suspect there isn't one right answer.

I guess we'll just have to try and see how we get on :)

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