Sunday, April 29, 2012


I have to admit. I am panicking a little bit because Sonshine's spoken and written English is still below average. It baffles me that he can read, understand the context, has a wide vocabulary but has problems composing a structurally correct sentence!
The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease:

So, i am going do whatever i can to help him. I am using Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Ease curriculum (I was introduced to this book while reading Adventures of bear). I am not following strictly just using it as a guideline. It's quite technical & involves alot of copywork and narration.

I used to think copywork is a boring way to teach a kid to write. But now i think otherwise! I realised while one can read it does not mean one can write. There are many writing rules that a reader tend to overlook. For instance, capital letters, punctuation marks etc. Copywork is one great way to highlight these writing rules to a young writer. Like most kids, sonshine missed out the capital letters & punctuation marks on his first copywork which affirms that reading and writing are not one and the same. I feel copywork helps to drill into the child the correct sentence structure more deeply than reading.

I also like the narration exercise recommended by the author. It involves reading a short passage or a book with the child and then have the child answer (verbal) in full to questions relating to the passage. I think this is a great activity to help Sonshine speak/answer in proper sentences which will eventually help him in his Comprehension work.

Overall, i like the curriculum because the suggested activities are very short and simple. It doesn't require an hour or even 30 minutes of the child's time, just 5-15 minutes will do. However, i choose to use my own choice of book titles rather than her recommended books. I am using mostly books that we borrow from the library. 

Mouse Was Mad

This week, i've had sonshine copy short sentences (no pictures, too lazy to take) from the kumon reading book and this book, Mouse was Mad (a book we adore!). I'm just grateful he didn't, hasn't resisted and has been quite receptive to copywork. As for narration, i use the library books we've been reading each night. After reading a page, i'd ask a simple question and have him answer me in complete, grammatically correct sentences.


  1. Good ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think this is good training for sonshine, to get used to answering/speaking in full proper sentences. I wasn't aware that copywork could help train a child in grammar and sentence structure as well. Will bear this in mind for next time. Keep up the good work, both of you! :)

  3. I have not read the book you mentioned here, but I do think copywork is a boring way to teach a child to write. In fact, it is not one that I will use with my kids and students. I totally agree that a child's ability to read does not mean he can write grammatically correct sentences and certainly does not mean he can compose short stories (as required for composition). Copy work is useful to train a child to have the patience to write a chunk of text at one sitting and to train him to transfer text accurately from one place to another (a skill required for K2 and primary school). But I beg to differ that copywork will help a child learn grammatically correct sentences. The most effective way to do this, esp since Sonshine is still young, is to encourage him to speak in grammatically correct sentences. Converse and have him make up short stories in good sentences and then get him to write them out, highlighting to him the rules of writing as you progress. This active learning process will be more effective if introduced correctly. This is just one of the methods I use at home with my boys and in my classes. Hope this helps Sonshine! Just my 2 cents. :>

  4. Hi domestic goddess! Appreciate the insights & tips! :) I agree, getting him to speak proper is the best way to go. Actually, I must have implied wrongly. I didn't mean that copywork is a good way to brush up grammar. I meant it's a good way to have the child pay more attention to correct, complete sentence structure. But I do think the narration exercises will help him speak grammatically correct sentences- which involves him giving the answers aloud in full sentences. I cant get him to write short stories 'cause he has difficulty putting his thoughts into words. Which is why I'm hoping copywork will help give him ideas how to translate his thoughts into words. Hahaha, actually what you've written is essentially what the author has said. You should write a book! :p

  5. Hi there, it takes practice for preschoolers to express thoughts into coherent and grammatically correct sentences. It always helps to start with a single sentence and progress into a short story after a few weeks or months. Personally, I don't like model composition books or those that get kids to copy good stories just for practising the sentences. Stifle creativity and limits a child's imagination. In long run, I think it will do more damage than good because it handicaps a child. But this is of course if parents/teachers rely solely on such methods to brush up writing skills.

    Reading good literature and structured discussions is a very effective way for a child to pick up good grammer and learn complex sentence structures and it always pays to highlight tricky grammer rules. This is more fun, relevant and interesting than copywork, hence is a more sustainable tactic for sure. I've seen very challenging students in my classes before and they all started writing creative stories from scratch in a few months. I'm sure Sonshine will get there in no time.

    Haha... never crossed my mind to write a book, but whenever I come across instances like yours, I can't resist sharing my experience and 2 cents. Only if you don't mind. :P

  6. Nope! Don't mind at all! I'm grateful for the sharing! Im still exploring & a greenhorn so I'm most willing to listen to what experienced mamas/teachers have to say. Yup, I'm trying to introduce sonny to structured discussions during our regular bedtime reading. But we are still very raw heh! It's comforting to hear that there's good hope for sonny!! Thanks again! :))


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