If your child is a struggling writer or has dysgraphia, she may have poor handwriting and trouble with spelling and getting her thoughts down on paper. It may be hard for her to read back what she’s written. She may fatigue easily or avoid writing altogether.
When writing gets in the way of your child learning or showing what she knows, having her dictate her responses to a scribe can be an appropriate accommodation. At home, that scribe may be you.
When you scribe for your child at home, here’s a way to get your child more involved in the process. This tip helps your child take ownership of her written work—and provides some handwriting practice, too.
All you’ll need is a thin yellow highlighter and a piece of lined paper. When your child dictates, use the highlighter to record, word for word, her thoughts and responses. Be sure that you’re using good letter formation. Pay attention to the lines and margins on the page, and use appropriate spacing between words. After your child has finished dictating, hand her the paper on which you’ve scribed.
Next, have her trace over the yellow text with her pencil, starting with the very first word and continuing down to the last punctuation mark. When she’s finished tracing, have her read what she’s written to herself and make any changes without your help (if possible). Then, have her read it aloud to you.
You may be amazed at how well your child adapts to this scribing method. Just keep in mind that scribing shouldn’t replace good classroom writing instruction. Also, be sure to explore the wide range of assistive technology tools available for struggling writers, like keyboards and dictation software.
Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with 14 years of experience in the classroom. She is also an Understood expert.
Check out a list of accommodations for kids with writing issues. Explore tools that can make writing easier. And read more expert tips on how to help a child with dysgraphia.
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The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.