Helping with Sentence Writing

"HELP! My child is really struggling with writing sentences on his/her own! I'm going crazy trying to help him/her...what can I do?!"

Is this you? Are you pulling out your hair? Is your hair turning gray? Are you getting wrinkles? Are you biting your fingernails? Don't worry. You are NOT alone! First, take a DEEEEEEEEP breath. Relax. It is probably time to just let it go for a day. Your child is probably going through some stress because YOU are projecting that stress that you are feeling. He/She is feeling stress because he/she isn't able to write the sentence you want. As a result, NO one is happy. This is not a good place to be right now, right? So, let's try to do something about it and make EVERYONE feel better.

Okay, here we go. First thing you need to do is to remember: spend NO MORE THAN TEN MINUTES (10) when working on writing sentences with your child. That's right. Ten minutes! Get out your kitchen timer so that you won't forget that the maximum time is TEN minutes. It will definitely help. We actually timed just how long it takes to write one sentence in our classroom and we found it shouldn't take longer than TWO minutes to come up with a sentence and get to writing it. This means ten minutes is much more time than necessary and if you go longer, then something is wrong.

Next, YOU don't do any of the writing. Nope. None. Nada. Get out the Purple Box and the Homework Folder. These two resources should have the things you need: the High Frequency Words and the red pencil. Any words that your child does not know, he/she can sound out using the BACK of the Homework Folder (HW folder) and the sounds of the letters. If you are doing any of the writing then your child is not doing any learning. You are!

Think of a topic. If you can't think of anything, then here are a few possible ideas:

1. What is your favorite ocean animal? Think of why you like that animal and write about it.

2. Why do you think Goldilocks ate the bears' porridge?

3. Think of all of your classmates at school. Think of someone who you like to sit next to during Group Time. Why do you like to sit next to this person?

4. What fruit reminds you of the color red? Why?

5. Think about tortoises and sea turtles. Which would you rather be? Why?

(Get the idea? You can probably think of a LOT of different things to have your child write about now, right?)

This is how you start.

Have your child sit down. Tell him/her, "We are going to work on sentence writing now. We are going to work on this for just a few minutes. No more than ten minutes, AT THE MOST! It will probably take you LESS time but just in case, let's put the timer on." *set the timer now

Pose the topic. Have your child sit and THINK for a few seconds (you may want to have him/her close his/her eyes first).

"What's the sentence you want to write?" (child tells you out loud) You say, "GREAT! Okay, let's see you write that down." (child gets the pencil and puts it to the paper and begins)

IF your child stops and asks, "How do I write like?" then you say, "Like? /l/ /l/ /l/ /i/ /i/ /i/... " (you slowly say each individual sound in the word)

Do NOT spell the word for your child. You are defeating the purpose of having your child use his/her skills if you do. Helping to sound out the word is fine (don't say the letter name, just the SOUND). If your child doesn't spell the word correctly, don't worry right now. We will correct this later, AFTER the sentence is written. The most important thing right now is that a sentence is being written.

Try it! It may take a few days (and some gray hair) before things begin to fall into place but, relax and it will happen.

AR Book Find

I bet YOU have your own 'AR' books at home or have been checking some out at your own public library! 'Accelerated Reader' books are simply those that have the special quizzes to go with them. Check to see if your book book is listed under the AR Book Find. You can find the reading level and more!

Contact info

You may contact Mrs. S-S via email if you have questions: email Mrs. S-S