Why your child loves reading but hates writing?

You have known it from day one that your child is smart. He/she learned to read faster, learned to speak faster, and learned to walk faster. Your child has great imagination, is a story teller, and asks intelligent questions. He/she loves reading and you have loaded a rack full of books for your child to read.

You feel great and rather proud to have a child that smart. You can see a great future ahead until you present your child with a writing task. You expect your child to be good, if not great, in writing given the love he/she has for reading books.

You are now confused and start looking around for better books that you can throw at your child. After all, everyone you speak to suggest that better writing is the result of frequent reading. In most cases, it helps; reading improves imagination and could tickle the creative neurons in your child’s brain but your child could be suffering from other issues causing them to refuse to write.

Causes

There are many reasons for why a child may not enjoy writing but we are going to talk about only two of them

Hand Strength and how to fix it

If a child does not do much writing then the finger muscles do not develop making writing a struggling task. Fortunately, finger muscles like any other muscles in the human body can be trained and with regular writing can make it less straining.

Any exercises that involve using a pencil and paper can help develop the physical strength required for writing.

Writing Anxiety and how to overcome it

Overcoming writing related anxieties require a very different approach than fixing muscle strength issues. You must first understand what writing anxiety is and what might be going on in the mind of a child when confronted by a writing task.

The last thing you want to do is to browbeat your child into writing. That will only add to the frustration and result into your child disliking it even further. Even worse, if it turns into a phobia. The writing anxiety like many other anxieties has its root into fear and contempt.

Fortunately, this anxiety lives in the mind and can be overcome but first, we need to understand the fears related with writing anxiety so we can craft an informed plan of action.

Fear of getting judged as inferior or dumb – Anecdotally, this is the biggest fear that plagues most writers and results into children disliking writing. No one wants to get judged and stamped as dumb or inferior.

Fear of contempt – Failing to write or write properly could trigger remarks from parents or teachers that could be interpreted as contempt even when the intention was not the same.

Fear of working hard – Writing is not easy, it requires lot of hard work in learning about the subject or topic before you could write anything about that subject. My nephew was asked to write 2 stories about his visit to London during his holiday. This requires him visiting the various places in London, pay attention to the details, collect postcards and useful information etc.

Fear of comparison – The fear that ones writing would be compared with another child’s writing and whose writing is always considered as creative and better.

Fear of inferior handwriting – If a child cannot write in a neat and tidy manner then that could result into handwriting fear when parents, teachers or others start pointing at their handwriting.

Now that we understand some of the fears associated with writing anxiety, the first step that we should take is to admit that such anxiety does exist. Acceptance plays a vital role in overcoming any type of anxiety.

Parents and teachers need to be a lot more supportive and appreciative of the efforts rather than the actual work. Ask your child to write just a few lines about something that they are familiar with rather than giving a topic that they may not feel comfortable about, know less about or require research.

Teach your child to adopt iterative approach to writing where they do not write the whole essay in just one sitting instead they revisit the writing in multiple iterations. When given enough time some children may feel more comfortable about writing.

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Kumon, Khan Academy and KidSmart – how to compare?

When trying to get your head around what exactly is on offer with a new product or service, as many of you will be doing right now for KidSmart App, it is handy to be able to compare it to ones you are already familiar with.

Like our founder Baljeet, you are probably acquainted with the likes of Kumon and Khan Academy. So, in this post, we take a look at the service provided by these companies, detailing the pros and cons of each, then compare them to KidSmart App.

Kumon

Also created by a dad who wanted the best for his child, Kumon is founded on the principle of mastery through short, incremental assignments.

Kumon is a bespoke program that focuses on Math and English. Instructors undertake an initial assessment then tailor-make a study plan for each individual student.

It is recommended that the student study for 15–30 minutes for five days of the week and complete another two study days when visiting their local Kumon Center. Study is in the form of pencil and paper worksheets and the worksheets increase in difficulty in small increments.

Pros

  • Kumon provides students with practice studying in a traditional learning environment
  • Worksheets are structured in such a way as to provide comprehensive coverage and understanding of topics
  • As Kumon utilises pencil and paper, students get the chance to improve their writing skills

Cons

  • Unlike app based learning, the student will need to wait to see whether they were right or wrong, so they won’t ever get the dopamine hit that is so valuable when it comes to information retention (learn more about this here.)
  • Kumon learning is one dimensional and therefore not hugely inspiring
  • The absence of variety leads to boredom and lack of concentration
  • There are no built-in-incentives to undertake the work, so parents often have to provide supplementary bribes to unengaged children
  • Kumon is based on rote memorisation technique which has faced criticism as ineffective for younger students
  • Kumon fees vary; but initial registration is typically £30 then a monthly single subject fee of around £60 per child, making it fairly expensive
  • Worksheets do require some adult supervision, as do visits to the local Kumon Center

Khan Academy

We have to admit, Khan Academy is pretty cool! This online platform offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard so learners can study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.

They cover a wide range of subjects, including math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. They have resources for all ages and offer specialized content through partnerships with the likes of NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT.

The technology behind the platform is state-of-the-art and adaptive to identify strengths and learning gaps.

Pros

  • It’s totally free
  • There are lots of great videos which will benefit students who learn best by this medium
  • Khan Academy works in real time, showing students errors so they can correct them straight away
  • There is an extensive resource library that will inspire keen students in a huge range of topics
  • Great to provide further support on topics covered but not fully understood in class

Cons

  • It is primarily geared up for the American market and not specifically to UK exams such as 11+ or the techniques required
  • Because of the wide scope of topics covered and it being free, there are large gaps in the syllabus and topics aren’t covered in a systematic, failsafe way
  • There is no gamification or incentivisation built in, so students need to be motivated to learn for themselves or by a third party
  • When students get a question wrong they get sent back to the beginning and lose their ‘mastery’ status which often proves incredibly frustrating
  • There is no support functionality built in, so if a student gets stuck they can’t get extra help from a tutor
  • Very few lessons provide real world examples to help illustrate the subject beyond the abstract

KidSmart

The primary reason Baljeet created KidSmart was because these services (and a plethora of others) didn’t quite cut the mustard when it came to keeping his daughter Avni properly engaged and learning at the same time. Avni has a very limited attention span and has set the bar really high when it comes to user experience and engagement.

We hugely appreciate the work Kumon and Khan Academy are doing to help students. As you can see, they both have many highly commendable features and strengths but KidSmart’s strength lies in delivering a holistic and engaging learning experience to help students truly maximize learning, retain information and re-enforce concepts by adapting to each child’s individual needs.

“For us, learning is not memorization of facts but the development of cognitive abilities and cultivation of a growth mindset.”

Baljeet Dogra, Founder of KidSmart

Below we’ve listed an array of facts about KidSmart so you can build a nice clear picture of what we offer.

About KidSmart

  • KidSmart content authors have several years of 11+ tutoring experience.
  • Mixtures of content types to ensure students are kept engaged. Including videos, games, jokes and traditional worksheets with real world examples
  • Results shown in real time so students can correct errors straight away.
  • The perfect level of gamification to maximise learning and to continue to engage the child with different gamification strategies – learn more
  • Over 2000 questions added to the database (and counting!)
  • Tutor support available anytime through messaging functionality and optional services to book one-to-one lessons.
  • Geared up for UK curriculum. Particular focus on CEM and GL 11+ exam formats.
  • Built expressly for the modern, touch screen generation
  • Built-in and personalisable incentives to undertake the work
  • Focus on self-learning and building confidence
  • Various reports instantly available to parents/tutors so they can adjust the learning experience to suit their child
  • Parents have a lot more visibility of the progress and direction
  • Most importantly, parents can provide feedback and request new features.
  • Simplified pricing plans with flexibility to switch at anytime makes decision making much simpler for parents. When combined with offers, promotions and referral options you can pretty much get the app for free. Offers & promotions are regularly posted on KidSmart Facebook Page and in the parents community.

To find out more about how KidSmart works, you can book a private demo of KidSmart App, either by messaging us on Facebook or write to us using this form.