Child can read at high level, can't write

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by brennanj, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. brennanj

    brennanj Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I teach Kindergarten and am on day 28. I have a boy who is a very young 5. (sweet as can be by the way) Here's my question: He reads at a level 14 (DRA) (end of first grade level) however, he does not know how to write any words without me sitting next to him sounding out every single sound in a word, have any of you experienced this before? He knows how to write all letters, however, his fine motor skills are not very good.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I am NOT an elementary ed teacher, but the youngest of my 3 kids is six, so take this for what it's worth.

    I think that reading and writing are 2 very distinct skills. Recognizing sight words and being able to decipher what's printed on a page is a totally different thing from being able to pull the letters out of the alphabet and write a word.

    It seems to me as though he got a head start on the reading, but is pretty much where he should be on the writing... or maybe even a bit behind because of all the emphasis on the reading end.
     
  4. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    Oct 15, 2009

    How is he at coloring/cutting? He might not have the fine motor strength to be hold the pencil, think the sound, process the word and write that down using the correct letter.

    I have so many K students this year that have no fine motor strength to grip much of anything and I think writing anything seems like a mountain. I see their little faces crinkle up trying to understand how to grip and you can tell they are like..why can't I hold this right.

    But that's me coming from an art ed point of view.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I don't know how to do it with hearing kids but with deaf kids we do a lot of word work. We will put magnetic letters on a small board and show them the word. Then we make sure they can read it. We ask how many letters it has, what do we notice about it. What is the initial letter, ending letter, etc. Then we scramble it and ask them to do it. They can't put the letters in random order and fill in. It must be the left to right formation. Then we tell them to do it again and again, faster and faster. Then we tell them to write it, again and again, faster and faster. We put it on the word wall and then we train them consistently to go back to the word wall if they need help looking how to spell words. You also want to make sure they have proper letter formation and the motor skills to handle writing fluently without struggling to spend the energy to form each letter that they forget where they are in the spelling of the word.

    I know there is phonics involved with hearing kids that you need to work on but that aside, you may want to do the word work for some sight words to get him thinking about spelling and how to do it and build confidence (taught by our reading recovery specialists).

    I am not an expert on hearing kids so take it with a grain of salt. It is just another method out there.

    Also, it is too early to give lined paper. Use blank paper only.

    Alice is right. These are two different skills. The child may or may not be completely ready for this step in Kindergarten. It takes time to build it.

    Also a lot of times we start with guided writing (dictation) and build from there after they have done some word work and have learned to form letters well enough not to be too completely laborious. Even then, it is a work in progress.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2009

    Alice is right. Reading and writing are distinct skills; it's often the case that proficiency in one supports proficiency in the other, but "often" isn't "invariably".

    For quite a while after Protestantism swept Europe in the early 16th century, literacy WAS just reading: a devout Protestant of nearly any class was expected to learn to read so as to read the Bible, but few felt a pressing need to learn to write as well.

    In addition, it's never been clear to me that phonemic awareness and phonics must be everyone's best path to reading.

    Given his difficulty with fine motor skills, though, try this: see if he does better at sounding out words when he can point to letters on a chart or choose letter blocks.
     
  7. brennanj

    brennanj Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Thank you for all of you advice. I realize they (writing and reading ) are 2 different skills. His coloring is not great, stays in one place. His cutting is very, very slow. He knows all of the sight words from k and 1st.
     
  8. jlj

    jlj Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2009

    brennanj - We have a child in PK4 class (missed the Sept. 1 cutoff for kindergarten, was five mid-Sept). This child was reading last year in PK3, I believe even at age two. I mean really reading. This child is also at least at end of 1st grade level if not higher. Thing is there is no phonetic reading, the child could not break down and sound out blends or words. Just looks at the words and read them! However, like your student, this one's fine motor, writing, coloring, drawing, cutting...is actually more young four level and in all other areas, pretty much on target. This is a very sweet, talkative child that's most always happy and excited about everything. Not ready for Kinder developmentally, skills, maturity, attention span, etc. yet I don't want to hold back on the reading. Comprehension is also good, can answer questions about what is read.
    I'd be interested in suggestions as well.
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Have you had the child try to copy words instead of sound them out on his own? At the beginning of the year, a lot of our writing is something that I model, and I just ask the kids to copy what I wrote- just to get them to understand to write from left to right, how to form different letters, etc. We are actually going to start blending sounds this coming week, and I know that the writing will be difficult for them. Just keep working on it- and remember, it's only October!! :)
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Is he reading with fluency and comprehension? or just 'calling words'? Reading without meaning (understanding) isn't really reading.
     
  11. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Oct 17, 2009

    czacza has an excellent point. I have had many students over the years who came in reading but couldn't even hold a pencil. This is normal for this age group because their fine motor skills aren't fully developed yet. His problem with writing may be because he is a "spontaneous reader" which means he just picked it up. Although he can read words he can't write them because he lacks the necessary skills such as phonics and phonological awareness. He will need instruction in these skills to learn how to write words and sentences.
     
  12. firstgurl85

    firstgurl85 Companion

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    Oct 19, 2009

    i have the EXACT same student! crazy! he is awsome at reading but his fine motor prevents hime from writing. we did a dictation activity w/ him and he was able to tell us a sentence to write and the letters needed to write those words. So we just need to really focus on getting his fine motor working!
     

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