Monday, August 11, 2014

Collaborative Writing As A Learning Device

My daughter has a lot of challenges in her life, both health-wise and school-related. Reading and writing are two of her major trouble areas. Cassidy is Dyslexic and also has something called Irlen Syndrome, which makes it very difficult for her to read. Spelling is a grand mystery that constantly eludes her and proper sentence structure and paragraph construction might as well be foreign languages.

Despite those challenges, Cassidy adores books and is a voracious reader and audio book listener. She's an imaginative writer who comes up with some really advanced ideas for a kid just entering fifth grade. My challenge has been helping her get her practical skills inline with her mental abilities.

In order to improve her writing skills, I insist that Cassidy writes a full page for me once a week. She has all week to do it, but inevitably waits until the last second to frantically put pencil to paper. That single page is an unbearable burden according to my daughter.

Today I proposed a new strategy for the both of us. A grand experiment. Starting tomorrow Cassidy and I are going to undertake a collaborative writing project. I began by writing a story title and a first paragraph. Tomorrow Cass will add her own paragraph. Then I'll add another paragraph and so on, trading back and forth, paragraph by paragraph, as our story grows.

Cassidy is excited at the prospect of sharing her writing time and breaking up the work. The idea of writing a story together really caught her interest. Hopefully this translates into more time together, more willingness to work on her writing skills and a touch of fun for both of us.

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