Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writing Support for Beginning Writers

Hi everyone!  I'm three days into this school year and thought of a helpful tip that I wanted to share with you.

Writing can be REALLY, REALLY tough for special education students.  It's hard to remember everything you want to say.  It's hard to look up at word and then look down to copy the same word.  It's hard to hold things in your short term memory long enough to get it all down on paper.  It's hard to hold the pencil correctly.  It's just plain hard!  

Today my 1st grade students were practicing identifying the beginning sound of a word and writing that word on their recording sheet.

This seems like a fairly straight forward task since they're just copying, right?  Well, look at the red circle.

This little fella was having the hardest time!  He didn't know what to write.  He was writing the words backwards.  He was writing leaving off letters.  Finally, I drew little lines for each letter of the word.

Bingo!  All he needed was a little guidance about where and what to write.  Even better was that after I drew the lines for the first two words, he started drawing the lines for himself afterwards.  

Score!  An easy modification that took no time, and he could even do this himself.

 When I teach writing sentences, here is another simple trick I do to help students.  I always make them say their sentence to me first.  This helps to make sure it's a complete sentence, and I can help them correct the sentence if needed.  

After we verbalize the sentence, we say the sentence and count each word.  That way the students know how many words they need to write.  Then I draw a line for each word on their paper.  After drawing the lines, I say their sentence again and point to each line as I say the word.

This is an easy accommodation that can be used quickly and in any setting.  Do you have any tips for writing?


  1. Drawing the lines is a great idea, Angelia! I do a similar process for Kid Writing with my K students, but never used the lines before. The student says the sentence. Then I restate the sentence making it grammatically correct. Then we write the sentence. In Kid Writing you use "the Magic Line" if a student does not know and letter sounds to write for the word. I think this process will really help the students remember to write all of the words in their sentence. It will help me, too, because sometimes I get distracted by another student's behavior and forget the writer's sentence. :)

  2. I think it's a great initiative in teaching them how to write. Yes, it may be hard for them but soon they can do it.

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