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Writing Strategies for Students Who Struggle

Writing struggles are common among school-aged children and can be especially challenging for children with a brain imbalance related to learning disorders, ADHD, processing disorders or other academic issues. Without proper planning and preparation, writing school essays and papers can be exceptionally difficult for these students.

Left brain writers typically excel at presenting ideas in a logical progression, whereas right brain writers use creativity to develop new insights and questions. The following strategies for both right brain weak and left brain weak students will help them to tap into both sides of their brain to write more successfully.


Right Brain Weak Writers

Students who are deficient in right brain function may have difficulty conceptualizing new ideas and using their imagination to facilitate storytelling. In order to trigger right brain function, these students should be encouraged to:


  • Daydream or doodle to turn on the more imaginative side of the brain.
  • Think about incorporating all the senses in their writing. What does the character see, smell, hear?
  • Write from another perspective or take another view point.
  • Take a break to move, walk, play, or do an activity where the student can lose track of time.
  • Experience the story in a more hands on way with collages, blocks, or even cut-up paragraphs from the paper to play with meaning, ideas, and structure.
  • Sing ideas out loud or listen to music while writing.


Left Brain Weak Writers

Students who are deficient in left brain function may need help translating their ideas into a comprehensive and logical format. These students can trigger left brain function by:


  • Supporting opinions with research or concrete examples.
  • Connecting ideas using a step-by-step map or outline before diving into writing.
  • Discussing ideas with another person for feedback.
  • Reviewing from a reader's perspective and honing ideas. What needs to be clarified?

Regardless of whether a student's writing struggles stem from the left or right side of the brain, planning and practice is key. Encourage your child to first plan their approach and outline the story or essay in its entirety prior to writing. Also, provide them an opportunity to write often.  It will help to avoid any frustrations along the way and lead to more fluent writing.


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