A majority of teachers and parents would have realised that getting ink out of a pen can sometimes be just as traumatic as getting blood out of a stone. We exist in a world that devours communication in writing . However , for many learners the acquisition of elementary skills in this area presents a massive problem . There are several obstacles that may confront the student when attempting the task of writing.
As a preliminary factor , the society where you are educated may be the primary hurdle to resolve . Some languages are simpler to puzzle through than others. In this respect , English is an extremely involved system of written communication . In many instances , words are not spelled the way they sound and this makes it even more challenging for a young student to learn to write words correctly . As an example, let’s size up the English sound unit ‘ough‘. There are at least five ways of saying this sound unit despite the fact its appearance remains unchanged . Yes, English is an extremely tortuous language!
Secondly, writing itself is an exceptionally complex cognitive task. Ask any writer about the generation of a story idea and you will get some understanding of this difficulty. Writing is made up of :
- imagination (the combination of learned facts and the consideration of ‘what if’ possibilities);
- collecting vocabulary from storage in long-term memory;
- the capacity to retain ideas and language in working memory;
- fine-motor control in the formation of letters;
- the skill of decoding one’s own printing ;
- the ability to recognise errors; and
- being able (and emotionally willing!) to make any necessary changes.
Finally , all this seems difficult enough at the best of times. Yet some students have to overcome extra challenges in the guise of various learning disabilities. Disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia can create incremental difficulties for these individuals even when they are discovered when a child is young .
It is not surprising that some of us are reluctantwhen it comes to putting the written word on the page . In the next post , we will describe some of the resources you can implement to encourage those reluctant writers.