“You have a book report due tomorrow???”

by Patrick on March 16, 2010

Illustration of PatrickIt’s 8:30 and your child needs to turn in a book report in 12 hours.

You’re tired, they’re tired, and your normally pleasant dinner table has turned into a battle zone.

As simple as a book report might seem, the brain actually has to do a lot of things at once. Not only does it have to decipher challenging words and text, it also needs to be able to find the information stored somewhere in its vast memory index. After locating the information the brain has to put that information into words. Neurons then have to send that message to the hand in order to write the sentences. All the while checking and making accommodations for word order, grammar and spelling.

I almost had to take a break from typing this just thinking about it!

We’ll be giving you some tips to help your kid get organized with assignments soon, but that’s not exactly gonna help you out at 8 o’clock on a Thursday night, with the Friday deadline hanging over your heads

So, for tonight, cut them (and yourself!) a break and make it simple. Ask them to dictate the report.

They tell you what they want to say.

You write it down.

They copy it.

It will save you both a headache.


Marc March 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

I can’t tell you how often this EXACT scenario has occurred in our house. Great, useful information.

Jenny March 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

wow! I wish someone had done this for me back in the day. So much more stuff would have been handed in on time. I will definitely remember it for my son.

Shannon March 16, 2010 at 10:48 pm

This is brilliant. Why is it so much easier to just start talking instead of writing?

Pidge March 17, 2010 at 12:54 am

This is a really great idea – one that I will use on myself as well, the next time I’m not wanting to write. Talking is always easier. Thanks for the great idea

Lauren March 17, 2010 at 1:09 am

I am already relieved imagining the next time I sit down with my sons (9) and (7) to do their literature homework! They are both avid readers, but the writing, oh how they fight with the writing! Sometimes, it’s too think-y for their full-day tired brains. This is such lovely advice! I’m grateful…

Melissa March 22, 2010 at 12:50 am

Lauren, I hope you’ll let us know if this trick works for you guys. We’d also love to know what specific part of writing is the most difficult for them. What would they say?

I remember how surprised I was when I read that writing was sometimes physically painful for little boys. That’s one of the reasons they often have poor penmanship.

And, did you know that they’re actually YEARS behind girls in the area of the brain that controls fine motor skills? I looked at their writing so differently when I learned that.

Anyways, we’d love to hear more clues if you need help solving the case!