“Write” Habits from the Start

Think writing is something to wait to tackle until the kids are older? Think again! There are many ways you can begin introducing writing instruction to your kids.

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All of the Molly of Denali graphics are actually photos of the show on my tv. 

I'm over at Pam Barnhill's site again today, sharing my The Importance of Writing for Young Children post that explains not only why young children should write, but how to promote the practice with your kids.

Click on over to see what I've shared there, but also make sure to read the ideas here on how to begin easing into formal writing instruction with your children.

Gv expressed a desire to learn handwriting a couple of years ago, but once she satisfied her interest in figuring out how to form the letters, she had absolutely no inclination to participate in the physical task of writing ever again.

I knew plenty of her peers who felt differently; friends who loved to spend time drawing and painting and making things pretty and neat and for them, writing words was just another art form to engage in and perfect.

But Gv tends to be more idea-driven. She'll come up with 589 ideas and follow through on most of them, but will happily use whatever supplies are available to carry them out, which makes my depression-era, frugal self happy seeing her resourcefulness, but often produces a product that not everyone will appreciate.

How many of these creations does my girl produce? Let's just say I knew I could randomly walk into her room and find one sitting around wherever my eyes alighted...

Despite Gv's reluctance to do more physical handwriting than was necessary, I knew it was important to not let that aversion hold her back from learning how to become a writer.

And, since we homeschool, I knew that I had the flexibility to  respect her reluctance in a way that would still develop her writing skills until her desire to write things herself reappeared.

I'll say it again, don’t force your child to do the physical writing if she’s not ready. If she sits in a classroom all day at school, that's a different story, but if not, then there are many other ways to help her become a writer without the handwriting tears:

  • She can draw a picture and label it, or you can label it for her, or you can write a description or story that she dictates to you on the back that matches the illustration.
This is a map, with labels, of a story where kids are trying to get to where they're finding all sorts of animals, but they're trapped in the house by a wolf and a shark...

  • You can write what your child dictates, thus allowing him to learn everything from how to write a paragraph, to narrating stories, to answering questions in complete sentences, without the handwriting struggles.
  • Don’t write a single thing down at all. Simply get into the habit of thinking and talking about what to write with your child!
  • Create “form book” pages for your child to complete, resulting in bound books:
     ABC book (“A is for ____” for whatever topic or theme you want, like foods or animals)
     Holiday book (“I’m thankful for ____” for Thanksgiving, or “I love ____” for Valentine’s)
     Stories (pages with “Once upon a time, there was a ____” and “First, ___” along with some for “next,” “then,” and “finally”)

Gv loved working on this adorable ABC Thanksgiving Journal from This Reading Mama a couple years ago!

  • Share these books and writings with friends and family in person or online.
  • Write poems together – these can be less intimating to a new writer and allows loads of creativity, too!
Whatever idea you try out, remember to work with your child to create positive writing experiences whose benefits will last for life!

Do you have kids that love to write, or do they moan whenever they have to jot down more than two letters at a time? I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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