Q & A: Notebooking with a Reluctant Writer

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Q: How do you handle a reluctant writer in terms of notebooking?

A: By changing the medium or reducing words.

Whether the reluctance is because of a learning uniqueness or simply because of personality, the tips below should help.

Actually, notebooking has a huge advantage over traditional worksheets and tests in that it is extremely flexible. There are so many different ways a child can express what he learned that there have to be at least a few methods of narration that  will fit every learner.

Here are my two main strategies for encouraging reluctant writers to use notebooking.

Change the Medium

What does this reluctant writer like doing? Can he use another medium to relate his lessons?

  • drawing or sketching
  • role play and short videos
  • using the computer

Allow him to narrate with other forms and then try to get those documented into the notebook somehow. Drawings are easy enough. Videos and role play may require photographs.

If the computer motivates him, allow him to make digital notebooking pages. In that case, The Publisher at Notebooking Pages may be an option to consider.

Graphic Organizers

Instead of full fledged paragraphs, require only words and phrases. Try bulletted lists or diagrams to record information without having to assemble the ideas into complete sentences.

Use arrows and other graphic organization to represent the relationships between ideas instead of clearly writing those ideas.

To help with structuring these kinds of notebooking pages, start with a printable graphic organizer.

There is no magic remedy for reluctant writers, only strategies. Keep trying! It may be a maturity issue that will change with time. If not, realize that writing may always be a challenge, but there are techniques to lesson the sting.


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Jimmie Quick

Jimmie is now a veteran homeschool mom. Her daughter Emma is a student of the sciences at a large university in Illinois. Her guide to notebooking—Notebooking Success—guides you through notebooking: what it is; how to use it; how it fits a Charlotte Mason, classical, and textbook curriculum; tips for getting the most educational value from it; and much more. It comes bundled with several bonuses, including a small set of generic notebooking pages that can be used with any topic.

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Tajuana Reply

Thank you Jimmie! I will be trying the graphic organizer idea for my special needs son. He’ll be 13 in Oct. but he struggles to come up with enough sentences to explain what he’s learned. His struggle is with organizing/processing his thoughts. We’ve used graphic organizers but I never thought of using them the way you described here. I’m learning so much from your posts. Thanks again. 🙂

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