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Writing question: Need advice and help


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  #1  
May 21st, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Okay, obviously Emily is only 4 and very likely doesn't quite have the motor skills to really write her letters correctly. She is usually later in her physical development and more advanced in other areas. She loves to write and I don't want to discourage her because she enjoys it now and if I tell her, "You don't write your letters right", she may dislike writing. I know there are ways that I can direct her into writing correctly without putting her current work down and still acknowledging the great progress she is making. But in talking with my SIL, she claims that she heard, from a kindergarten teacher so that may tell me right off the bat if I should listen to it, that if they write the letters incorrectly it is harder to correct the mistake and write well later.

Her DD is having this trouble, but is going to kindergarten in the fall and she said she has tried to help her and has finally given up and says she will just let them do it. So we had of course a discussion of why her DD would do this. I think it is because of the way that SIL approaches it. She shows her her letters and she says "Yes, but you should do it this way." So she is being defiant and wanting to show some independence in my opinion. She says this is why she could never teach her kids because they don't like hearing it from her. I think in her way it was to show me how kids will put up a fight and not listen to their moms and need to be sent to school, so I should do the same. But whatever. I try to ignore that part.

Anyway, Emily seems to be fine with me teaching her for the most part, but in writing she does this as well. She would rather believe that Happy Birthday is spelled with an E like HappEY. I don't fight it, there is plenty of time for her to learn it. So do you think I should make a big deal about her not writing her letters correctly yet? I have several sheets where she can copy the letter the right way, but she isn't interested in them. What do you think? Is it correct that she needs to learn them now or she will have a hard time with them? I have been looking at writing guides online trying to give me some ideas of what to do. Just wanted to know your opinions. TIA
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  #2  
May 21st, 2008, 02:19 PM
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I only correct him if it's school time and I'm teaching him letters. If he does stuff just for fun I let it go and praise him lots!
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  #3  
May 21st, 2008, 02:23 PM
joandsarah77's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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It's such a fine line. At 4 my first thoughts would be to back right off and not 'give' her any writing but find ways to encourage the correct way. Let her draw or write as she wants and praise any words she writes corectly or any letters within the word that are nicely done. I am only just now starting to require Sarah to form them the proper way. She would rather do them from the buttom up so I have to say "Start at the top". Mayby try those sheets again in 6 months and use them with a starting dot. A couple of things I remember I think from Peggy Kayes Game for reading book is you can make special words on a card and decorate them. So if 'happy' is a word Emily likes to write make it on a card with large thick letters and decorate it, make it special then put it in a special word box. The second thing is you can go on a 'happy' word hunt. Choose a book you know has happy a few times, get out your special word card and see how many you can find and compaire the card to the found words. Anothe way might be to do a lesson on the letter Y on how sometimes it likes to say "Ee" and find words were it is pretending to be an E.
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  #4  
May 21st, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Those are such good suggestions! Thanks! I like the idea of having a hunt for the words she is looking for. She actually reads the word happy just fine and knows that y often can make the e sound at the end, but in writing she does it differently. Maybe she is doing what John Holt said they do, which is make up their own rules sometimes. But I really like writing down the words she needs help with and seeing if we can find them. Great ideas! And yes I need to be sure I praise a lot when she writes for fun.
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  #5  
May 21st, 2008, 02:49 PM
Farmers-wife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I have let all my girls, and boys now, too, just write. When they do a particularly good job on one letter I will say "that is a very nice Q" or whatever. Especially at 4, there is no reason to make it negative. Now my 12 yo writes beautifully. The other girls are getting there.

Good luck and have fun!
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  #6  
May 21st, 2008, 03:03 PM
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My 4 year old (5 in September) is starting to write his letters. He does really well considering he is only 4 and a half. What we are working on is writing them the right way inside the lines. There is nothing that gets him more whiney and ready to STOP school than me standing over him telling him "no, that is not right" each time he tries. What I do is back off and let him make a few. If they are wrong, I say good job...then I tell him to make another one and I hold his hand while he does it and say, for instance, for a capital B, "straight line top to bottom, now big hump to the middle, big hump to the bottom." He likes that and we do three or 4 this way. Then when i turn him loose, he does it correct almost 99% of the time! Now, that doesn't always carry over to the next lesson, but he it is a work in progress. If you go to my blog, there is a pic there of some "B"s that he wrote. You can see that he didn't do them correctly at first, then I held his hand for two of them and the last one is perfect!

That said, I do a lot tracing sheets with him. He likes to trace them and it gives him a feel for it.

Now, if Scotty is writing for fun, I could care less how he makes the letters. I just thank God he is writing instead of playing transformers or watching TV.
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  #7  
May 21st, 2008, 03:38 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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I'm in the just let them write camp. Cameron has had no problem correcting his mistakes from when he'd write on his own randomly. Now getting Ani out of the capitals habit she got into thanks to Handwriting Without Tears K book is a whole other story...
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  #8  
May 21st, 2008, 07:24 PM
MissyPrincessEha's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I believe that she should just have the JOY of writing! Both of my kids did this, and Remy is still allowed to just write unless it is copy work. She will figure out by reading and writing on her own that her own writing does not match up to the writings she reads and she will change it on her own. IMO.

There is also the issue of her doing what she is told. I would provide different times for each kind. Copy work type stuff and free writing.
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  #9  
May 21st, 2008, 08:51 PM
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With my nephew, during school time, I put a sticker with the "very best" letter in a line/section of letters, even if none of them is particularly good. He always helps me pick which one, and we talk about why the one we picked is the best, and (sometimes) why we didn't pick the other ones. I normally do this in a positive way, such as "I like this b best, because you started at the top line, made a very straight line down, and then you didn't lift your pencil but you still made the circle fill the bottom space and it is nice and round." Instead of saying something like "Well, these three aren't very good, because they all have points on their circles, and that one isn't good because you lifted your pencil twice and it has a double line where you went back up..." He's actually starting to notice the same things I have commented on/reminded him about with various letters, like the fact that a lowercase b doesn't have a point on it, but the whole circle is ROUND. He insists that not only is it unacceptable as "the best" but we must erase it so it might be better than it was. I wasn't *aiming* for a perfectionist, but apparently he's decided to be one anyway, because he is absorbing the particulars of letter/number formation and making them his ultimate goal. This could be fun...

I don't even care about spelling with him. Right now I'm happy to get him to sound out words like cat and rat and have them come out as the right words, because we have some MAJOR decoding issues, let alone have him tell me what letters are used to spell a word when he needs to write one! We had a five minute discussion today over whether n was r or n. What fun. At least he didn't try to also say it was an m this time! He can listen and tell you what the first/last sound was, but you ask him to look at it and tell you the same thing, and he will look at you like you are crazy.

When it isn't school time, I just let him do whatever he wants. He'll sit in the dirt with a "pencil stick" and write his name, numbers, and every letter he knows how to make as many times as he can until the dirt is so torn up that it "doesn't work" anymore. Then he finds other ways to do it... chalk, inside on paper, whatever. He just has fun, and I'm happy with that. And, his mom, dad, and grandparents are amazed, because his manuscript and numbers are better than, and on par (respectively) with his sister who is two years his senior, lol...
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  #10  
May 22nd, 2008, 05:59 AM
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I totally agree with Chelita on this! I think there should be times you teach her, but in her own writing time let her be.
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