Preschool Writing Readiness •
As young children begin to realize print has meaning and all those letter symbols have a purpose, writing emerges.
Discovery Trials Early Learning Academy uses writing as a means to teach reading. As children scribble, draw pictures, pretend to write and sound out words, they are developing skills for reading. Children should have ample opportunity to practice these skills not only at school but at home as well.
It is important for children to have support for writing at home in addition to school. However, before a child can write, he or she needs to be ready so that success is imminent.
Here are some writing readiness signs your child will exhibit if he or she is ready to be a writer.
1. Your child will demonstrate a definite hand preference.
2. Your child will use his or her preferred hand for coloring, drawing, and scribbling.
3. Your child should be able to use the non-preferred hand as a stabilizer during two-handed activities like pouring water from a pitcher.
4. Your child holds a crayon, marker or pencil close to the tip with the first three fingers pointed toward the paper.
5. Your child can mimic and copy simple lines and shapes.
6. You notice your child is drawing people and objects and tells you who or what he/she has made.
7. Your child begins to make marks that resemble letters.
8. Simple mazes and short dot-to-dots can be completed.
9. Your child tries to stay in the lines when coloring pre-made pictures.
In order to support writing at home, here are a few suggestions that will help your child not only be victorious in writing but enjoy it as well.
- Writing is a whole-body experience: Build large muscles to support writing skills development with activities like playing catch, kicking a ball, riding a bike, running, skipping and climbing.
- Teach children the right way to write letters. This will make it easier for them later on and they will not need to “relearn” how to write. This can lead to frustration and the idea that writing is no fun.
a. Always start vertical letters from the top and write down to the bottom.
b. Horizontal letters go left to right.
c. Circular letters go counter-clockwise except for the letters B, b, P, p, R, r and uppercase D.
To make writing entertaining, there are a variety of tools that you can use to encourage your child to want to write.
• Pencils: The smaller the better. Use golf pencils or sharpen down regular-sized pencils.
• Pens: Children love to write like “grown-ups.”
• Crayons: The perfect medium. Crayons offer great feedback to children. If they press lightly, they get a fine line, if they press hard, they get a bold stroke. Crayons are also harder to manipulate helping children to strengthen the muscles in their hands.
• Colored Pencils: Provides feedback like a crayon but feels like a pencil.
• Markers: Very responsive and takes less effort than other writing tools.
• Chalk: Provides a wonderful tactile experience. Children “feel” the movement as they write. Chalk is also correctible and can be used on almost anything from paper, to chalkboards, to sidewalks.
• Unlined Paper: Use paper without lines until you see your child begin to write smaller and with control.
• Notebooks: Have your child pick out a cool notebook to inspire writing.
• Sticky Notes: How fun? Something to write and draw on and a sticker all-in-one.
• Butcher Paper: Large paper allows children to use large body movements to write and draw.
• Chalkboards and Easels: These offer opportunities for children to exercise their shoulder and arm muscles. These are the muscles that will give them support and stability when they start writing.
• Stationary and Homemade Letter Head: Adds creativity and fun to the experience.
Research shows that young children can naturally develop how to read and write through playful explorations (Fields, Groth, & Spangler, 2004). Writing is important to a child’s literacy learning process. All children, no matter where they are, are successful writers. Helping children along their journey will make this task effortless and enjoyable.
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