Some days go really well.
Some days just don’t.
Last week, we had one of those days that just, no matter how hard I tried, did not work.
Although he had read a chapter book the day before, my son was not able to read the word “then”. He knew he should know it, after practicing it for almost four years. He knew he had known it the day before, but on this day it was as foreign to him as calculus is to me.
We took a break, because I’ve learned that’s what we need to do. Sitting on the couch, snuggling a bit and talking about Harry Potter, my son stopped suddenly, looked up and me and said, “I may not be able to read today, but I can write!”
My son was right. His dyslexic brain was struggling with decoding letters and words. But he doesn’t associate letters and words with writing.
(I know what you’re thinking – Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?)
He thinks of writing as creative expression, and a chance to explore story lines and characters that are as over the top as he wants them to be.
I used to think this “didn’t count.”
I used to think it was less important than the nitty-gritty stuff like commas and adverbs.
I was wrong.
Please know, although there are affiliate links below, my family has greatly benefited from Brave Writer. I am sharing this in the hopes it may help yours as well!
Brave Writer And Children With Learning Differences
Brave Writer has been instrumental in helping my children become writers, and in helping their mom understand what it really takes to be a writer. (Note to self: commas and adverbs are not initially essential ingredients in the creation any great literary work.)
Although I have shared in the past why Brave Writer is such a big deal (and it is) today I want to share specifically why I think it is an excellent fit for children with learning differences.
The Brave Writer Lifestyle
Before ever even researching a Brave Writer writing program, I started to implement the ideas and structure of a “Brave Writer Lifestyle.” Completely free, this information is available to show how learning, and specifically language and writing can be woven into our everyday lives.
This is instrumental for my children and their learning differences. Too often, they are forced to review the basics over and over again, in order to fully grasp new learning. It’s exhausting, for all of us.
Brave Writer takes away the feeling of practicing mundane tasks and easily accommodates learning differences in ways that make sense in everyday life.
Brave Writer activities that support a language rich lifestyle include:
- Poetry Teatime
- Reading Aloud
- Big Juicy Conversations
- Literary Elements
- Nature Journaling
- Writing Projects
- Art Appreciation
- Movies and Television
- One on One Time
- Jot It Down
- Language Games
- Sharing Your Writing
Brave Writer’s fundamental assertion is that all children are capable of learning to write, as they are allowed to explore, progress and learn as individuals.
While this is certainly true for all children, I think for children with learning differences, this foundation makes all the difference in the world.
Built on uncovering and encouraging an individualized approach to learning, Brave Writer emphasises one powerful component that we too often dismiss –
Brave Writer encourages and builds the relationship between teacher and the student. This relational approach allows for easy accommodation and respect for children with learning differences.
I believe relationship is an essential element of learning. It is also an essential element of Brave Writer.
Multi-sensory experiences and exercises are woven throughout Brave Writer. I would argue it is one of Brave Writer’s most essential ingredients.
This thoughtful and out-of-the-box, multi-sensory approach, is evident this week’s Brave Writer writing challenge. Learners are encouraged to take a favorite book and collect favorite words and phrases from it. Then, they write these favorites on non-traditional surfaces like a sliding glass door, a t-shirt, sandpaper, the driveway or the bottom of your shoe.
I love how simple it is. I love how fun it is. I love that I didn’t have to think up of all the additional multi-sensory options my children need to succeed!
Creativity and Expression Come First
Children with learning differences are often amazingly gifted in creative expression. Too often, this strength is set aside in favor of more traditional textbooks, grammar excercises and worksheets.
Not so with Brave Writer. It focuses on and cultivates creative expression first, and mechanics (including commas and adverbs) second.
This is huge.
It is also incredibly effective.
My son spent almost two hours, and the rest of our school day last week, dictating a story to me. I printed it up and we sat back down together on the couch to read it aloud.
One of the first words he was able to read was “then.”
Thank you, Brave Writer.