Understanding Your Child’s Trouble With Writing

  • 11 December 2019

When your child sits down to write something, what do you see? Messy handwriting and spelling mistakes? Your child staring out the window without writing a thing?

These types of writing difficulties aren’t uncommon. So you may be wondering if they’re something to be concerned about. Kids develop writing skills at different rates, and some take longer than others to learn these skills. But sometimes kids need extra help to get better at writing.

There are two main areas of writing where kids may struggle:

  • Handwriting and spelling
  • Expressing ideas in writing

Kids can have trouble in one area or both. Learn more about writing problems and what can help.

Messy Handwriting

Handwriting skills are part of an area of writing called transcription. (Spelling is part of transcription, too.) Trouble in this area affects how well kids can present their thoughts. This means that even when kids have great ideas that are well-formed and organized, it can be hard to get them across.

Teachers may have a hard time deciphering the words and sentences kids write. Even the kids themselves might not be able to read what they wrote.

When kids have a hard time with handwriting, they might struggle with:

  • Forming letters
  • Placing letters and words on the page
  • Making letters and words the correct size
  • Holding and controlling a pencil
  • Writing in a straight line

Kids might struggle with handwriting for a number of reasons. If they’re young, they might just be taking a longer time to develop these skills.

Learn more about messy handwriting, and what can cause it. And explore ways to help your child with handwriting.

Trouble Expressing Ideas in Writing

Not all kids who struggle with writing have poor handwriting. Some have trouble getting ideas together and planning how to put them into written form. You might hear teachers refer to this as written expression.

Kids may not be able to come up with what they want to say. Even if they have an idea, they may have trouble knowing where to start. Or they may be able to start writing, but then not know how to organize the rest.

Trouble with written expression is often caused by poor planning and organization skills. But there can be other factors, too. Learn more about trouble expressing ideas in writing, and what can cause it.

No matter what the reason, there are things you and the school can do to help your child improve. Tools like graphic organizers can help kids plan out what to write. There are other strategies you can try at home, too.

Finding Answers About Writing Difficulties

Noticing that your child has a hard time writing is an important first step. Continue to observe your child and take notes on what you’re seeing. If there’s a pattern that goes on for a while, you may want to talk to someone. Your child’s teacher and pediatrician can be great sources of information and advice.

The more you know, the easier it will be to find strategies to help your....


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