Holly Swinton: dyslexia speaker, trainer, author and assessor » News » Is your child/teen a fast or slow writer? Find out how they measure up

Is your child/teen a fast or slow writer? Find out how they measure up

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Are you concerned about how slowly your child writes?  Here is a very rough way to find out if they are writing as fast as their classmates.

Step One: Ask your child to write for five minutes about an easy topic like holidays they’ve been on, food or Christmas.  Give them a minute or so to think, but don’t let them plan.  Don’t stop the timer if they get stuck.

Step Two: Count all the words they have written and divide by 5.  That will give you how many words they write per minute.

Step Three: Compare it with average output of children of the same age.

9 years: 11 or 12 words per minute

10 years: 14 or 15 wpm

11 years: 16 or 17 wpm

12 years: 18 or 19 wpm

13 years: 20 or 21 wpm

14 years: 22 or 23 wpm

15 years: 23 wpm

16-18 years: 24 wpm

19-21 years: 25 wpm

22-25 years: 25 or 26 wpm

Obviously, this doesn’t tell you why!  It doesn’t consider the quality of content, handwriting, spelling, structure or how efficient their technique is.  But hopefully it helps you judge whether they need some help.

Mostly writing can be easily fixed, but occasionally it needs removing from the mix.  Would they benefit from learning to touch type and taking their exams on computer?  Now is the perfect time to start learning.

Is it worth investigating whether they are struggling so much that they qualify for extra time, dictation software, predictive text or even a scribe?  This could be via an assessor like me, via the school SENCO, via a handwriting tutor or via an occupational therapist.

Need a plan to pinpoint exactly how to help?