How to Write Easy Essays and Painless Prose

Half of all kids with ADHD struggle with writing, which can make every assignment — from straightforward worksheets to full-length essays — feel like torture. Boost your child's skills with these 18 strategies for school and home.

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Solutions in the Classroom: Guide the Writing Process

-- Set up a note system. Ask the ADHD student to write her notes about a topic on individual sticky notes. She can then group the notes together that feature similar ideas so she'll be able to easily identify the major concepts of the subject from the groupings.

-- Start small and build skills. Ask ADHD students to write a paragraph consisting of only two or three sentences. As their skills improve, the students can start writing several paragraphs at a time.

-- Demonstrate essay writing. With the use of an overhead projector, write a paragraph or an entire essay in front of the class, explaining what you are doing at each step. Students can assist you by contributing sentences as you go. ADHDers are often visual learners, and tend to do better when they see the teacher work on a task.

-- Give writing prompts. Students with ADHD usually don't generate as many essay ideas as their peers. Help the ADHD children increase their options for essay assignments by collecting materials that stimulate choices. Read a poem, tell a story, show pictures in magazines, newspapers, or books.

If the student is still struggling to get started, help him by sitting down and talking about the assignment with him. Review his notes from the brainstorming session and ask, "What are some ways you could write the first sentence?" If he doesn't have an answer, say, "Here's an idea. How would you write that in your own words?"

-- Encourage colorful description. ADHD students often have difficulty "dressing up" their written words. Help them add adjectives and use stronger, more active verbs in sentences.

-- Explain the editing process. Students with ADHD have a hard time writing to length and often produce essays that are too short and lacking in details. Explain how the use of adjectives and adverbs can enhance their composition. Show them how to use a thesaurus, too.

Next: Solutions in the Classroom: Use Accommodations Where Necessary...

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TAGS: Back to School, For Teachers of ADHD Children, Learning Disabilities

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