Children with language difficulties are often reluctant writers.
Reading and spelling are difficult, and these kids often avoid or minimize their writing by taking the path of least resistance. I have seen kids use many tactics and guises to avoid writing. Although I know what they are doing, finding a way around this, is difficult. Reluctant writers don’t practise writing and the cycle is perpetuated.
BUT, what if they could write the script and bring it to life as a movie?……….
What if they could write about all the gross and disgusting things, that they are not usually allowed to write about?
That would be fun! That would be cool!
They would write.
The reluctant writers are writing Plotagon scripts
Plotagon encourages writing for a number of reasons:
- First and foremost, the script does not need to be neat. The student can cross out as much as they want to. The only prerequisite, is that the student is able to read it to me when I type out the script in Plotagon. Reading the script adds an additional dimension to the task; reading for meaning, and editing.
- Editing, becomes part of the writing process, instead of something that is seen as a punishment for many reluctant writers. In the scene below, we created an entire ‘menu’, but only a few items were edited selected for the final product.
- There are no restrictions on what students can write, and so they do their best to try and write more and more disgusting and gross things in an effort to disarm me.
- Spelling doesn’t count. (Actually, it does, but they don’t know it).
“Did you mean poppy-seed bread or poopy spread bread?” I ask innocently. If you want to write ‘poppy’, there is a short /o/ sound, two syllables, and double the consonant after a short vowel. But, ‘poopy’ has a long /oo/ sound, so you only use one /p/.”
“I wonder, what words rhyme with poopy?”
Did I say spelling doesn’t count?
- The written expression task is a dialogue, and the context (setting), and characters are defined. This simplifies the task because the student does not have to provide an introduction to the story. But, we still work on causal relationships, such as question + answer, or statements/comments + response (expansion/validation).
- The dialogue makes it easier to learn about punctuation, because the student is always aware of which person is talking.