When a child has difficulty writing, and you know it goes beyond writer’s block, there are a few strategies that might help. The mere mention of a writing assignment could create anxiety and cause frustration for some students. As parents and/or educators, our job is to provide ways to help reduce stress and improve success for our children/students.
Try to make writing fun! Encourage involvement by taking advantage of the technology that is available on most tablets and computers. Teach your students how to use the dictation feature on a computer or device. Remind your students to be creative when writing. They should speak their story and remember that there will be time to go back and edit their work once they are done.
To introduce the dictation feature, start off with a game. Have a converstation or set up an interview via dictation. Once the students realize how to use the feature, they will feel confident and their writing ideas will flow with ease. After some practice, both you and your students will understand the necessary pace, volume and clarity at which you need to speak, in order for your voice to be correctly translated.
There are different ways to activate dication mode depending on which device you’re using. I work on a Mac and press the “fn” key twice to active the feature. You can use Siri, or press the microphone on the keyboard, on some iPads/iPhones. The dictation mode can help struggling writers overcome roadblocks. Students can separate thoughts by using commands such as “new paragraph” or “all caps”. Allow students to research and practice available dictation commands.
In the 21st Century, students should be able to use accommodations to help them with school work. I have found this feature useful when working with students who have difficulty with pencil grip and fine motor skills. While it is important for students to practice handwriting, it shouldn’t be the only tool for writing stories or essays in school, especially when a child needs an accomodation due to dysgraphia or another written language disorder.
Do you use the dictation feature when working on a computer or device? Anyone working from a tablet or PC and willing to share how you activate the dictation mode?