The following five categories will help your student solve words while reading or writing:
· Sound: You can read or write some words by thinking about the sounds.
· Look: You can read or write some words by thinking about the way they look.
· Meaning: You can read or write some words by thinking about what they mean.
The wind blew my hat off.
My shirt is blue.
· Connect: You can use what you know about a word to figure out a new word.
· Inquire: You can use materials to learn more about words.
dictionary, adult, computer
Prompts to help students solve (read or write) words:
· What do you hear first? Next? Last?
· Do you know a word that starts with those letters? Ends with these letters?
· Read the part you know.
· Check to see if it looks right.
· Write the part you know. What sounds do you hear in the word?
· Do you have a period at the end of you sentence?
· Are you proper nouns capitalized?
· Is your writing focused? Writing about one specific topic?
· Look for patterns
· Look for word parts
· Try several ways to spell a word
· Write the sounds they hear in a word
· Write a vowel in each word and each syllable
· Think about words that sound the same
· Think about words that look the same
· Check to see if words look right
· Think about what words mean
· Practice words
· Ask someone if they can’t figure it out or look in a dictionary
Oh nooo! I have writers' block. What should I do?
- Writer's block is typically caused by conflicted feelings. We want the writing to be perfect and we want to write the essay or story as soon as possible. We know how the essay or story should sound, but we don't have all the facts or ideas we need. We know what we have to say but we are afraid that it won't be good enough.
- All of these feelings are natural and normal. Everyone finds writing a challenge.
- Using trial and error
Since our short-term memory is limited, trying to juggle in your head all the possible ways to phrase something usually means we repeat the same rejected sentences over and over. One way to avoid this is to make a quick list of alternative sentences.
- lnsisting on a perfect paper or draft
This is the surest way to writer's block. Expecting everything to come together at once leads to nowhere. Doing this is really much slower than writing several quick drafts focusing on different goals.
- Waiting for great ideas
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What seems like great ideas are usually the result of hard work.
- Taking notes
Jot down ideas and sentences as they come to you. Free yourself from paragraphs and sentences for the moment--use charts, arrows, boxes, outlines, even pictures. Right now, you are only worried about getting things down before you forget them.
When you're not just blocked, try freewriting. Sit down for ten minutes and write down everything you can think of about your topic. The object is to write without stopping for the whole ten minutes. If you can't think of anything to say, write "blah, blah, blah" over and over. If other things come to you as you write, go ahead and write them, even if they are not directly related to your topic. These distractions may be part of what is keeping you blocked.
- Freewriting is good for uncovering ideas--it's a good way to create great ideas and sentences. But the main idea of freewriting is to get you moving! Most of what you write in those ten minutes will go in the recycling bin, but you'll be warmed up and your serious writing should go more smoothly.
- Brainstorming resembles freewriting but is more goal-directed. You start not only with a topic, say Sports, but also with a goal: What is the best sport?Why? Then allow yourself to write down ideas for a set amount of time without stoping any ideas and without wanting prefection. When the "storm" has passed, you can rearrange ideas, put thoughts into complete sentences, edit, and smile.
Sometimes, starting at the beginning induces Perfect Draft Syndrome. It may be easier to get started if you approach the task sideways. If you've got a plan for story or essay, choose a section from the middle or a point you know well and start there. Then do another section. After you've gained some confidence, you can work on the opening and smooth out the transitions.
- Satisficing (satisfy + suffice)
You "satisfice" when you take the write what comes to you instead of searching endlessly for just the right word or sentence. If you're unhappy with the choice, you can bracket it and promise yourself you'll fix it later.
Adapted from the University of Illinois Center for Writing Studies, www.english.uiuc.edu on September 5th, 2008