The Old Chalkdust Trail–Writing Challenges

I don’t really feel motivated at this point in my life to begin another blog, but with starting up the “Schoolin’ Swag“* Facebook page, the creative educational juices have been flowing.  So, for now, I’ll post a few things in the category, “The Old Chalkdust Trail”. 🙂

Today, I want to share something that I have begun trying with our son, Michael.  Michael has some reading disability issues, and some ways that it translates into his writing (with backwards b, p, d, q, 2, 5, 6,9).  He has hated writing.  It requires an incredible amount of focus for him.

About a year ago, I noticed that Michael liked reading a whole lot better when it was “compartmentalized”…like in a comic book format.  I checked out all kinds of comic books from the library (he really loved Missile Mouse, so we bought him a couple for Christmas).  Then, just recently, I began wondering if the same thing might help his writing.

Michael is very creative in his story-making skills.  Here is an excerpt from a how-to essay he put together a couple months ago, entitled, “How to Make a Galactic Grilled Cheese”:

It’s lunch time, space cadet. You are hungry.  You can’t even boil water!  How will you make lunch?  Oh no!  I am here to save the day!  I am Grilled Cheese Man!

Your first mission is to retrieve cyber bread and space butter.  Your second mission is to find a flying frying pan.  Of course, your prime target is moon cheese.

Here are the steps to deploy your galactic grilled cheese sandwich:

First, energize your flying frying pan.  Setting number 6.

Second, get the cyber bread and space butter out.  Install space butter on one side of one piece of cyber bread.  Then put the cyber bread on the flying frying pan, space butter side facing south.

Third, put two pieces of moon cheese on the cyber bread that is on the flying frying pan.

Fourth, take another piece of cyber bread, put space butter on one side, and put it on top of the moon cheese that is melting in the flying frying pan.  Confirm that space butter side is facing north.

Fifth, take space dispatula and rotate entire sandwich continuously until it turns solar golden on both north and south surfaces.

Last, remove galactic sandwich with dispatula, place on food saucer and wait for de-heatification.  Then dispose through your food portal.

Clever thinking isn’t the problem…it is the execution (and believe me, he feels it in the truest sense of that word) of writing it down.  I have found that he does better when he skips the handwritten draft and sits down at the keyboard.  It sort of bypasses the vortex machine in his brain and, because he knows the keyboard by rote, it flows a whole lot more smoothly this way for him.  However, I don’t want him to bail totally on the actual pencil-in-hand process.  So…

This semester I asked Michael if he’d like to try making his own comic strip.  He jumped at it, and I was overjoyed!  He began with very simple ones.  Here is a cute sample:

I make him do them in pencil, so we can edit and learn grammar/spelling.  This has been a great project.  Perhaps, if you are encountering some similar challenges, it may be something you’d like to try as well!  We are gradually getting longer installments of this project.  He is saving them all in a notebook.  He excitedly tells his siblings about his creations…so I think we’re on the right track!  I thank the Lord for opening my eyes to this opportunity to help my son succeed. Grace.

*If you are on Facebook, join the “Schoolin’ Swag” page…lots of freebies and resources and helpful chat!  Over 100 links so far! It’s an open group, just click on the linked words. 🙂

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One thought on “The Old Chalkdust Trail–Writing Challenges

  1. Pingback: Writing and Reading Challenges « The Old Chalkdust Trail

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