Strategies for struggling writers in higher grades

helping-struggling-writers

I used to teach year 3 (2nd grade) and while the majority of students were really good writers, some still struggled. In the lower year groups there are lots of measures in place which support and help the class. When the children get older it can be harder to use these as they might consider them babyish or they just not useful for older ages. 

Here are some of the strategies I have used with older children, they not only encourage them to write but also to help build their confidence with English lessons.

No mistake writing

The idea behind this is very simple, their written work is not marked for errors. They can write stories, diary entries or anything the rest of the class is doing, safe in the knowledge that it wont be returned with corrections all over it. I am not saying you should do this for every piece of work, but when it is a good time, I would let them know that I will read their work, give them feedback on the content and ideas but I wont be looking for mistakes at all. This allows the children the freedom to just write. 

Sounds scrabble

Children that worry about their spellings love this game. We play scrabble in groups, the rules are that words can be spelt any way as long as they can be sounded out to sound like the words. For example 'choona' is a perfectly acceptable word to play for tuna. The children can't just lay any letters down, they have to prove their word by sounding it out. 

Sounds writing

This leads on from the sounds scrabble, using the same principle children write using the sounds they hear only. It can be a fun challenge for more confident writers as well. 

Talk for Writing principles

Pie Corbett's approach to teaching writing is great for struggling writers. The ideas are quite involved but teaching children to talk out their work, plan it in detail by talking. These things are so helpful and the actions he recommends really do improve the work. 

There are of course, many other ways to encourage writers. These are just a few of the thing I have used that worked for me. If you have other great ideas please leave a comment and let me know. 

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