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Dysgraphia: How can I help my child?

Is your child struggling with handwriting? The cause may be more than just laziness or lack of motivation; it could be a neurologically-based learning issue called dysgraphia. This post explains the signs and symptoms of dysgraphia and the steps you can take to help your child succeed in reading and spelling.

What Is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia: How can I help my child? - All About Learning Press

A child with dysgraphia has handwriting that is worse than you would normally see in a child of his age, intelligence, and education level.

But dysgraphia isn’t just about messy papers. A child with dysgraphia may also appear to be unmotivated or lazy, or what we sometimes refer to as a “reluctant writer.” Because he has trouble expressing his thoughts and ideas in writing, he may avoid writing altogether.

Dysgraphia can also make your child avoid seemingly normal situations. For example, does your child avoid Scouts or clubs because he may be asked to fill out forms? Is he hesitant to participate in any activity that involves writing, even something as simple as signing his own name? Has he been teased because of childish penmanship?

If so, you have probably experienced firsthand the frustration, anger, and anxiety that dysgraphia can cause.

Symptoms of Dysgraphia

As with most learning challenges, the symptoms of dysgraphia can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms may vary in the way they show up in children of different ages.

In general, a child with dysgraphia may have trouble with the following:

  • Forming letters, numbers, and words
  • Spelling words correctly
  • Organizing thoughts and ideas into written expression

Simply put, dysgraphia makes the process of writing quite difficult, so a child with dysgraphia often has a much easier time expressing ideas verbally than in writing.

Symptoms of Dysgraphia Download

Here are some additional signs of dysgraphia:

  • A tight or awkward pencil grip
  • Tires quickly while writing
  • Writing is illegible, inconsistent, and has poorly formed letters and numbers
  • Incorrect spacing and positioning of letters, words, and lines of written text
  • Writing is slow and labored
  • Complete avoidance of writing
  • Difficulty following spelling and grammar rules
  • Trouble aligning columns of numbers in math problems
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Trouble with tasks that require concurrent thinking and writing

If you recognize some of these symptoms in your child, read on!

Compensation is the First Step

Compensation means helping your child “work around” his handwriting issues so he can still continue to learn.

You may be surprised to hear me say that. After all, dysgraphia is a serious issue, and surely we don’t want to just “work around” the problem, right?

Well, at first we do want to work around the penmanship issue.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t eventually going to tackle the problem—that step will come next—but it does mean that you are going to reduce the stress that your child is likely experiencing, and at the same time make sure your student can continue to learn.

But exactly how you compensate will depend upon your child’s age and the subject areas being studied.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Work on keyboarding skills. Using a keyboard instead of paper and pencil can be a great way to motivate a reluctant writer to express his thoughts and ideas.
  2. Do work orally. Many assignments can be completed orally with a parent.
  3. Use speech-to-text tools. Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Sound Note are good examples of speech recognition software. These tools allow your child’s work to be dictated orally and automatically translated to text.
  4. Use alternatives to written assignments. Until your student has stronger handwriting skills, consider using some of the interesting ideas below.
dysgraphia-alternatives-to-written-assignments-700x400

Once the pressure is off and your child is learning in other subject areas without pen and paper, it’s time to work on penmanship skills.

Check for Proper Handwriting Position

Since so many kids with dysgraphia have incorrect writing posture and pencil grip, it’s important to establish proper handwriting position before attempting to address specific penmanship concerns. The graphic below is a handy guide for evaluating your child’s handwriting position.

dysgraphia-handwritingposition-1200x540

Tackle Handwriting Remediation

Once you have checked and corrected your child’s posture and pencil grip, it’s time to actually put pencil to paper and start writing.

Please keep in mind that it’s important to allow your child to acquire writing skills at his own pace. Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap. Your child has a special need, so let him progress naturally and not at the pace recommended for his age, his grade level, or his curriculum.

Also, as you work to improve your child’s ability to write, continue to reduce the amount of writing that is required to complete his schoolwork. Allow learning to happen without pen and paper.

Try these tips to help make penmanship lessons more productive and enjoyable for you and your child.

  • If your child reverses letters, my free report on “How to Solve Letter Reversals” will be a huge help to you.
  • Use a research-based handwriting program. Handwriting Without Tears has been effective for many children with handwriting problems.
  • Provide short bursts of handwriting exercise instead of long, drawn-out sessions. Many kids with dysgraphia need to work on fine motor skills. Activities such as coloring, cutting, painting, model-building, working with clay, working pencil mazes, and threading beads will increase dexterity and build fine motor skills.
  • Schedule penmanship practice time for 5-10 minutes a day.
  • If your child can’t remember how to form letters consistently—writing them correctly at times, but incorrectly at other times—it could be a sign that he has problems with his working memory.
  • Work on correct letter formation by using multisensory methods and techniques that don’t require writing. Finger-writing in the air, in sand, in shaving cream, or on sandpaper are all great exercises that can encourage improvement in proper letter formation.
ig-teachingthroughspecialneeds

Dysgraphia Also Affects Reading and Spelling

For a child with dysgraphia, the very act of writing takes so much energy that it actually interferes with the process of learning, which can then negatively impact his ability to learn.

Because your child’s dysgraphia affects the way he learns to read and spell, it’s important to remove the handwriting barrier from both of these subject areas. All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to do just that! In fact, both programs can be completed without requiring any handwriting at all.

Here are some features that will help your child learn more quickly:

  • AAR and AAS are multisensory. With a multisensory approach, children take in and interact with information in various ways. Learning happens through multiple senses, primarily through sight, sound, and touch (kinesthetic). The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles.
  • AAR and AAS are incremental and mastery-based. In both programs, students master one concept before moving on to a new concept. This helps reduce frustration and confusion and allows children to move at their own pace through the curriculum.
  • AAR and AAS use color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding a concept and not understanding it. The letter tiles provide a kinesthetic method for practicing spelling words without the need for paper and pencil.
  • AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties benefit from lots of review. Customized review allows you to target the areas in which your child is struggling.
  • AAR and AAS are highly motivational. Both programs use a wide variety of fun, hands-on activities that minimize the need for writing. Short, engaging lessons and the ability to track their own progress keep kids motivated from the very first lesson.

But what do moms who are in the trenches with their struggling learners say about overcoming dysgraphia?

Some Hope and Encouragement for You

Helping a child who is struggling with dysgraphia takes patience. Change may not come quickly, but trust that it will come! And to encourage you during this process, I’d like to share a few success stories from our community.

Here’s Tanya’s story:

dysgraphia-letter-tiles-200x200

“My daughter has dysgraphia and she is thriving with AAS! We just finished level 4 (starting 4th grade). The tiles are great for spelling when writing is just too much.

I like that the lessons are at our own pace, and that she can master the material in a way that works best for her! Thanks!”

This is from Rebekah, another mom who is finding success with AAS:

“Although we haven’t pursued an official diagnosis, our eight-year-old son has all the characteristics of dysgraphia. The best thing we ever did was back off from writing for a while. He still struggles, but it’s getting easier. He loves his AAR, and we will be starting AAS soon. Things are finally clicking, and I am so thankful that spelling, reading, and writing no longer involve tears!”

And Sharon shared what a difference All About Spelling is making for her son:

dysgraphia-erasing-words-200x200

“My son used to feel defeated, but now he has so much more enthusiasm for reading since he doesn’t have to write. He doesn’t dread school when his hands don’t hurt and get tired. He also doesn’t waste erasers from erasing so often!

“He uses his magnetic letter tiles to build his words now, and he’ll often ask to handwrite the words he has built. The tiles help him tell his b, d, p, and q apart, which make writing and spelling easier. Being able to look at the letters while writing has helped his handwriting improve, too!”

The Bottom Line: Don’t Let Dysgraphia Rob Your Child

Handwriting may seem like a small part of education, but it affects your child’s ability to express ideas. It’s important to address dysgraphia, and to prevent it from stealing your child’s motivation, his joy of learning, and his self-esteem.

Starting today, you can help make learning easier for your child with dysgraphia by implementing three simple ideas.

  1. Compensation: Minimize the distractions and frustrations of the writing process by using alternatives to handwritten assignments.
  2. Evaluate: Establishing proper handwriting position is critical to handwriting success. Begin the process by checking your child’s handwriting position.
  3. Remediation: Work on improving your child’s penmanship skills by using the ideas in this post.

If you have any questions about your child’s dysgraphia and how it affects reading and spelling instruction, please feel free to call or email us. With All About Reading and All About Spelling, your child can continue to learn without frustration, and we’re here to help!

Does your child struggle with dysgraphia? What has helped? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Solve Letter Reversals

Photo credit: @teachingthroughspecialneeds via Instagram

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Jennifer Lobo

says:

My Sr. kg. Daughter is 5 yrs old and is just learning to write.
But now in School they have already covered Capital & small letters as well as 2 & 3 letter words. My kid finds it hard to write so much. Plus teachers r giving too much HW and stressing on her writing.

What should I do?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
I think it would be best if you first speak to your daughter’s teachers about the concerns you have.

It sounds as if the other students have learned to write letters previously, so they are ahead of your daughter. It may be that she needs to focus on learning to write letters before being ready for this grade of school. Her teachers will be able to help you determine that.

Umo Ansa

says:

I need an urgent help for my first son, have been looking for a way to help him in reading and spelling’s skills.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry to hear your son is having difficulties with reading and spelling. Here are some blog posts that may help:
10 Tips for Reaching Your Struggling Learner
Signs of a Reading Problem
The “No Gaps” Approach to Reading and Spelling

If you have specific questions, I’d be happy to help.

Mel

says:

Hi,
My 7 year old started primary school for the first time since covid. He started writing but never in completion of the days work. For the past 4 days of school he has not been writing. No matter if he was scolded in school or at home. He is not writing no matter what. The teacher is frustrated and it seems that after speaking to him she is just ignoring him now. I am frustrated as I have tried everything. He started to show improvements at one point but now no writing at all.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your child is having such difficulties, Mel. Have you asked him, during a time when neither of you is upset, why he hasn’t been writing these last few days? Children can be surprisingly insightful to their own motivations, at least occasionally.

Rebecca

says:

Hi,

Thanks for the above info.
Should you correct an established incorrect pen grip? At the age of 11. Concerns are it will get harder with increased writing at secondary school.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
Considering your student’s age, I recommend consulting with an occupational therapist before deciding to interfere with an established pencil grip. It can be very difficult to correct an inefficient grip after so many years, so the decision to do so should be made carefully and with guidance on how to go about it. Some nonconventional pencil grips work well enough for individuals even with the demands of secondary and post-secondary schooling.

Rebecca

says:

Thank you for this information.
I started googling after my 6 year old came home from school saying his teacher hurt his feelings today. He said it was in relation to his writing. I don’t think the teacher necessarily said anything hurtful. My son has recently become incredibly sensitive about writing. His letter formation and spacing was an issue last year in kindergarten, so we do try to practice, but it is so hard to get him to focus. He slouches and tells me he is dumb and can’t do it. When he makes a mistake, he can see it, and he gets really frustrated. I feel like he is getting to a point of avoidance. He has been told off at school for not writing any sentences during ‘writing’ time. I’m not sure what to do. I will enrol in writing without tears.
He is very intelligent otherwise. He reads novels (for kids).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
Here are some things that can help with handwriting:

Have him work on one letter at a time. Either one per day or one for the whole week. He should write that letter 3-5 times, focusing on forming the letter correctly. Let him put a star or sticker above the letter that he thinks he did the best. (Have him tell you why he thinks it’s best. If you think another one is best, you could say, “That one is good! I also like how you made a nice straight line on this one…” pointing to one you like.) Getting him to slow down, make just a few letters, and identify the one he thinks was best will help him pay careful attention to formation.

Handwriting lines are not needed at this stage, and many kids are not ready for them. You may want to let him practice on a whiteboard. Show him an example letter, and then let him try it. Focus on forming the letter correctly with round circles, straight lines, starting at the correct spot, etc.

Incorporate kinesthetic practice, such as writing with a finger in sand, salt trays cornmeal, whipped cream, on carpet squares or sandpaper, in snow, etc. Write letters or words on the whiteboard and then have your son erase them with the pointer finger of his dominant hand, following proper letter strokes. These activities will reinforce the neurological connections needed for handwriting and make the motions more memorable. Here’s another article that has some additional ideas you can use for handwriting surfaces.

Make sure to incorporate lots of large-muscle play in his day as well, such as running, jumping, climbing, swinging, and anything that strengthens core muscles and gross motor muscles. These are incredibly important to handwriting. Many people think of handwriting as fine motor activity, but the gross motors (the trunk muscles that hold the body up so kids don’t lean on their arms as they write, the shoulder and arm muscles that control arm movements, etc.) are really important too.

Mazes, dot-to-dot, coloring, Lego, playing with cars, cutting, pasting, painting, etc. are good for reinforcing the fine-motor skills needed.

Have fun and enjoy your 6-year-old! Working on handwriting for a few minutes each day will help him progress more and more. Short lesson times that are fun done consistently over time will reap great results!

Kamohelo

says:

My 7 year old is struggling to write and count but his a happy child. when I sit with him and assist I can tell that once he grabs or gains self confidence he will have a perfect hand writing I can see that. He was doing well in Grade R but this year in Grade 1 they could not gel with the new teacher that’s when he struggled with everything.One morning he said I’m no longer going to that crazy teacher. I told him that that’s not a perfect language to say about someone he said but then I’m not going to school and I’m sleeping. So I decided to look for another school and he was accepted unfortunately for him it was time for assessment. So I’m trying other ways to assist him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so sorry your child has been struggling, Kamohelo! I hope you can find ways to assist him and help him be successful.

If you have specific questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help.

AVASARALA VRK MADHAVA RAO

says:

My son is 6 years old. He is well in oral. He can easily find out any albhabet, number and symbols. but he is not well and very poor in writing skills. Even he has no proper grip with pencil and slate pencil. give me suggestion and ideas to overcome that defect.

Samuel

says:

This is sam from india. My son is 9 years old we found quit late that learning disability. Do we have to change to new school! Spending more time in his phone and Tv .Your Article was helpfull and understand that he is having trouble reading and writing, sports but playing with Art.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sam,
I am sorry to hear your son is having such troubles! If a new school is an option to help him succeed in reading and writing, then it is for the best.

If you have any questions or concerns, please ask. I am happy to help if I can.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your son is struggling.

This is a good article that explains grips and when to work at changing it.

This occupational therapist mom says, “If your child’s poor pencil grip is affecting handwriting and causing pain and fatigue, then just telling your child to ‘hold the pencil better’ is NOT going to help! If you are in any way concerned about your child’s pencil grip, get a professional opinion. I recommend an occupational therapy assessment to help figure out whether your child is compensating for other weak skills, or whether your child has missed out on some developmental stage along the way.” Her article goes on to give ideas for strengthening fine motor skills.

You can help your child to develop these skills by scissors cutting activities, play-doh, and hand and finger activities. And don’t forget, lots of playing at the park to strengthen core muscles. You can find activity suggestions on this page.

Here are some things that can help with handwriting:

Have him work on one letter at a time–either one per day or one for the whole week. He should write that letter 3-5 times, focusing on forming the letter in the correct way. Let him put a star or sticker above the letter that he thinks he did the best. (Have him tell you why he thinks it’s best. If you think another one is best, you could say, “That one is good! I also like the way you made a nice straight line on this one…” pointing to one that you like.) Getting him to slow down, make just a few letters, and identify the one he thinks was best will help him pay careful attention to formation.

Handwriting lines are not needed at this stage, and many kids are not ready for them. You may want to let him practice on a whiteboard. Show him an example letter, and then let him try it. Focus on forming the letter correctly–round circles, straight lines, starting at the correct spot etc…

Incorporate kinesthetic practice, such as writing with a finger in sand, salt trays, cornmeal, whipped cream, on carpet squares or sandpaper, in snow, etc… Write letters or words on the whiteboard and then have your son finger erase them, following proper letter strokes. These types of activities will reinforce the neurological connections needed for handwriting, and will make the motions more memorable. Here’s another article that has some additional ideas you can use for handwriting surfaces.

Make sure to incorporate lots of large-muscle play in his day–running, jumping, climbing, swinging…anything that strengthens core muscles and gross motor muscles. These are incredibly important to handwriting. (Many people think of handwriting as a fine motor activity, but the gross motors–the trunk muscles that hold the body up so kids don’t lean on their arms as they write, the shoulder and arm muscles that control arm movements, etc… are really important too).

Mazes, dot-to-dot, coloring, lego, playing with cars, cutting, pasting, painting, etc… are good for reinforcing fine motor skills needed.

If you don’t have a program yet, check out Handwriting Without Tears. That curriculum was developed by an occupational therapist and has good methods for preventing (or correcting) reversals.

Have fun and enjoy your 6-year-old! Handwriting will come in time!

Happiness

says:

My son is in grade 4….. He can’t read even writing…. When I teach him-he’s cramming and this think is stressing me…….. Last time he told me his teacher embarrassed him in front of class mate 😭 she says “hei you cnt even spell a word” that think touch me and sometimes he don’t wanna go to school

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so sorry your son is struggling, and how terrible for his teacher to do such a thing!

I hope you find the tips and suggestions on the blog post helpful. Here are some others you may find helpful as well:
10 Tips for Reaching Your Struggling Learner
8 Ways to Encourage Spelling Success (and Happy Spellers!)How to Find a Spelling Program That Works

If you have specific questions or concerns, please let me know. I’m happy to help!

Marie

says:

I am sure that my 11 year old son has dysgraphia and dyslexia although not formally diagnosed. We started AAS about 2 years ago. My son is now in level 5. We do the spelling orally. He spells and I type in a Word document. He read the dictation instead of spelling it. We do the writing station orally as well. He enjoys making long “silly sentences” with the given words. We use Writing Without Tears for writing practice. If a page is too overwhelming we do half a page one day and finish the next. Or we do 2 line, then go to another book, then come back and do another, and so on. He does his math on an Excel spreadsheet so that the problems can be easily lined up. Since he was so overwhelmed by reading larger books, we started him in AAR level 2 last year in 4th grade. He likes it and doesn’t fret that the stories are getting longer. He enjoys making “silly sentences” out of the words in the workbook.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Marie! It’s wonderful to hear that your son is doing so well in All About Spelling and All About Reading, and how you have adapted them for his needs. Great work!

M

says:

I am convinced that this is what my almost 10 year son has. He has the most amazing stories in his head and can describe things in such detail. But….. his penmanship and spelling is such hard work. He gets pains in his hands from writing just a few words (which even he can’t read back the next day). The school haven’t been that helpful. He has seen an OT but the response was take away the writing- the school still expects him to write like his peers. How do we get an official diagnosis as I’m told by the Senco that there is no such thing 🤔

Philippa

says:

Hi there, your senco is incorrect and misinformed. If you are in the UK, the school has a statutory duty to assess your child and meet their need. This should include alternative assessment arrangements such as a writer for exams etc. You will need to be the ‘squeaky wheel’ and not be put off by someone who should be there to support your son’s education. If you are able to travel/self fund, http://dyscovery.southwales.ac.uk/ has an expert service and takes public referrals. You could also try your local Child Development Service. All the best.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your son is struggling. Often the Occupational Therapist can provide a diagnosis of dysgraphia, but what is required for your school to provide accommodations and services can vary. Your email address suggests to me that you are not in the US. You may need to do some research for your country. I’m sorry I’m not more help.

Belter Gutsa

says:

Very informative. Will surely need to find out more on the subject

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was informative for you, Belter. If you have additional questions, I’m happy to help if I can.

Mary(mother)

says:

My son is 7 years old and his not even close to write.can you help me.kids name is charles

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary,
Seven years old is still rather young. Has he been taught how to form each letter and practiced them until he is comfortable with them? That would be the place to start if he is not comfortable writing letters yet.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or if it is something else you need help with.

lindsey

says:

My son is 7 years old for the last 2 parents evenings his teacher has told me he is behind with ever thing but get help from the school sendco teacher is a hard .I have taken him to kip mcgrath and says he is 18 months behind with all his subjects and his handwriting is that of a nursery child i wonder if he could have dyslexia or dyspraxia any help grateful

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lindsey,
A child would need to be evaluated to be able to pinpoint the cause of his learning difficulties. Also, it is possible for a child to have more than one learning disability at once. You may consider asking your son’s school to have him evaluated, or you could ask for his pediatrician to refer him for evaluation.

We have a Dyslexia Resource page you may find helpful.

Angela

says:

How do we do All About Spelling without requiring handwriting? We are using level 2 now, and writing from dictation is part of it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
What some have done is do All About Spelling twice each day. Once with a focus on spelling, using only the tiles, Letter Tile app, or oral spelling. The second time they work at a lower level focused on writing. For example, your child would do spelling in Level 2, but handwriting from Level 1, writing the words and dictation phrases. This split separates mastering spelling from the physical act of writing and allows a child to work on each separately to their best ability.

AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1 to phrases and short sentences in Level 2 to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this Level 3, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words.

This gradual progression can be exactly what a child needs to develop automaticity in handwriting, but a child with dysgraphia will need to progress more slowly in the writing than in the spelling.

Another option is to use typing for dictation.

Another option is to do the dictation orally or with tiles or other non-writing means and work on handwriting in another way each day, such as a handwriting program.

Angela

says:

Can you please explain how to do the dictation orally?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
The child would spell the words orally letter by letter. So if the dictation sentence is, “The colt is by his mom,” you would read the sentence, and then your child would repeat it after you. Then it would sound like, “The, t-h-e. Colt, c-o-l-t. Is, i-s,” and so on.

Note, this will be more difficult as holding a sentence in the mind is typically auditory (you “hear” the sentence in your memory), but when speaking it will be easier to forget what sentence is.

However, some children will do fine with oral dictation. Others will find it difficult enough that using the tiles or typing will be much easier.

But again, I want to stress that doing the dictation orally or with tiles should not replace doing written dictation. A student with dysgraphia still needs to practice writing daily. It’s just that doing dictation orally or with tiles will allow the student to work on spelling on a much higher level than the level the student needs to be with their writing practice.

Megan

says:

My 8 year old has ADHD and dysgraphia. He is doing well with LOEs Rythm of Handwriting. We also use AAR and his one word at a time spelling is wonderful with Sequential Spelling. Do you have a writing curriculum suggestion? His biggest issue is getting thoughts to paper, even answering more open ended questions are a struggle. He isn’t very descriptive. He will just say the house instead of describing it all. We have tried Writeshop and I liked it but it just wasn’t very interesting. I’m thinking of signing up for an in person IEW class.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Megan,
I think you may find our Language Arts in My Household blog post helpful. In it, Merry discusses how Language Arts is a progression of skills and students need to be comfortable with one set of skills before being ready to start the next set.

It is that way with writing. Children need to be well along in reading and spelling before they are ready for the more complexities of composing their own writing. Eight years old is still quite young for composition. With my own children, formal writing programs waited until they were older. At that age, writing was informal, such as writing thank you cards to grandparents or providing details about their drawings and paintings. Once they had mastered reading and were doing well with spelling and dictation, we began a writing curriculum.

Here are some writing programs we recommend:

– Institute for Excellence in Writing. IEW has an incremental approach and has the option to use video. Their PAL writing program is for beginning writers and also incorporates All About Spelling.

– Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King: Book A is for grades 2-4, Book 1 for grades 5-6, Book 2 for grades 7-8, and book 3 for grades 9-12.

– WriteShop uses an incremental approach and includes multi-sensory activities. The methods are effective for both regular and special needs learners.

– Writing Strands provides an incremental approach.

– Essentials in Writing is both multi-sensory and incremental. The author describes it as a Math-U-See approach to writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. It also has grammar included for 1st-6th grade levels, and an optional grammar DVD included in Jr. High levels.

– Night Zookeeper is a cute program my co-worker enjoys. It is for 6-12 year-olds. It has games that go through vocabulary and spelling, but the main part is creative writing. First you create your own zoo animal (they are all made-up creatures and they give you prompts to make it if needed) and the first piece you write is on that animal. They often give you goals like “try to use a descriptive word in your story” etc. They have the kids write reports. The child reads something about a topic (like manatees) then writes a report on it. A person will comment on each story the kids write and give them suggestions and ask them to correct mistakes.

– Brave Writer is a different type of approach altogether. There are various curriculum offerings. Their project-based writing options are especially fun and engaging.

Josephine Dominic otono

says:

My son suffers from dysgraphia although he can read and spell but he doesn’t like writing. He can spend hours on writing half a page rather still beg not to write. He is just 6 years old.thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Josephine,
Half a page of writing is a lot for a 6-year-old! Most children that young struggle to write more than a couple of sentences. I recommend not requiring so much at one time and just practicing writing shorter amounts each day.

Bongie

says:

My daughter she’s 8yrs turning 9October this year,she has a problem of not writing at school, she’s doing grade 2 this year

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry to hear your daughter is having difficulties, Bongie. Have you discussed these problems with her teacher and the school’s staff?

Maybe you will find out our 10 Tips for Reaching Your Struggling Learner blog post helpful as well.

Maria sibeko

says:

My boy is terning 6 next month and he is in grade 1,he strugels to write just two letters (lo) on a straight line and at school they say he is not coping sometimes he just sleep on his table while the teacher is still teaching, please help

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your boy is having such difficulties, Maria! Have you brought up these concerns to his doctor? It could be a physical issue.

Estelle Slater

says:

Hi, could you please advise how you go about getting tested for dysgraphia?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Estelle,
Evaluation for dysgraphia is usually done through schools or by an occupational therapist.

Dimuthu Liyanamana

says:

Thanks for sharing this post. Though my children do not have this neurological difficulty as a teacher this new knowledge I got from this your article will definitely will be of immense help. Thanks again.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Dimuthu! I’m very glad this will be helpful for you.

Sasha

says:

My son doesn’t like writing but reading this guide I now have an idea of how I can help him. He has a lot of ideas but has a hard time putting them on paper.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m pleased to hear that this article may be helpful for you, Sasha. If you have any questions or need more help, please let me know.

Cynthia

says:

So wonderful, this what my 9yrs old son is struggling with, l pray this guide will help us push through, thanks. A lot

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope the information in this article is helpful for you and your son, Cynthia. However, if you have additional questions or need more help, just ask! I’m happy to help!

Popele

says:

This is so informative. I will immediately assist and support my learners. Thank you so much 🥰

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Popele!

Manuel Gonzalez

says:

Hi my son is 8 years old he is at 3rd grade at the elementary school. His reading skills are ok but he doesn’t write more than one sentence. He misspell words. What can I do to help him improve his writing skills.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Manuel,
I would recommend working with your son with All About Spelling, starting with Level 1. All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing a student’s stamina and fluency in writing that’s very helpful for those that struggle. It starts with just words and then moves to short two- to three-word phrases in Level 1. It bumps up to phrases and short sentences in Level 2 and then progresses to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3.

Partway through Level 5, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments outside of spelling time.

By the end of Level 3, students have mastered about 1000 words from the regular and reinforcement lists, and they have developed stamina and beginning editing skills that will help them with more extensive writing.

The tips and suggestions in this blog post will also be helpful for a student that struggles with writing.

I hope this helps as you consider how to proceed! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Linda

says:

I tried everything to help my son read and write he’s 15 now and still don’t know how to took him to the doctor and they said he have adhd but I feel there got to be something wrong for a child to go to school and not learning how to read and write

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your son is having such troubles, Linda. Have you spoken with your son’s school about your concerns?

Sometimes the issue is that students have gaps in foundational knowledge in skills that are necessary for success in reading and writing. You may consider look into The “No Gaps” Approach to Reading and Spelling. Please let me know if you have specific concerns that I can help with.

Rukayat Akorede

says:

My boy is 6 years old and suffering from dysgraphia….I felt bad when I toke him to a new school and he couldn’t write anything I felt so bad and started crying….pls help me

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rukayat,
I’m so sorry your boy is having such struggles. I hope you find the types and suggestions outlined in this blog post helpful. Also, his school should be able to provide evaluation and help.

Cici Coco

says:

Dysgraphia can be very complex. Each kid’s profile is different. From language expression, to handwriting, to spelling, to quantity…I think consistent support is essential. That may come from multiple professionals, like an OT, speech therapist, Orton Gillingham trained dyslexia therapist. It may also involve a pediatrician to treat ADHD, as well know these things often co-occur. A village of support, but gains can be made.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Cici.

Samantha

says:

How do you get checked for this sounds little like my 9 Yr old

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good question, Samantha. Often occupational therapists can help diagnose dysgraphia, although some children are diagnosed when they are generally tested for learning disabilities. You can start by speaking with your child’s doctor or requesting evaluation through the local school.

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for the alternatives to written assignments. We use narration quite a bit, but excited to try some fresh new ideas such as audio recordings and cartoon captions. We are starting AAS this year in hopes of improving his spelling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Jennifer!

Dema Godwill fibikah

says:

Hi,my boy is eight years old, fine it difficult to read and write when, don’t know what to do, need help for him,

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry your child is having such difficulties, Dema. You may find our Signs of a Reading Problem and 10 Tips for Reaching Your Struggling Learner blog posts helpful. In addition, The “No Gaps” Approach to Reading and Spelling may be just what he needs.

Let me know if you have specific questions.