I am very excited to publish my first ever Guest Post! Thank you to Emily Patterson for sharing this post with us!
Teaching Children to Write
At an early age, children are eager to learn how to write. The first steps to learning how to write are to watch adults doing so, and then doing “scribbles” themselves. This is an early stage of development in writing skills and should be encouraged. Often, the first attempt a child will make to write in structured language is to copy the first letter of his/her name. These attempts are very important and will set the stage for a child’s growth in communications skills.
When a child is beginning to learn how to write, do not stress penmanship skills. This takes the focus off of learning to communicate effectively and can actually hinder a child’s development of writing skills. Forming precise letters requires fine motor skills that young children have not fully developed and can easily frustrate them, giving them the impression that writing is not something they can enjoy. Gentle guidance towards good penmanship, at an age when children have mastered the basics of writing, will go a long way and will not muddle the all-important lesson that writing is a wonderful method of expression.
Patience is one of the most important tools to have when teaching children to write. A teacher or parent’s job is to guide and encourage, stimulating a child’s natural propensity to learn through discovery and experimentation. Role modeling a positive attitude toward writing is very important.
Here are a few tips to help you foster a love of writing in any child:
• Keep writing utensils and paper readily available. Encourage children to practice writing anytime they want, and engage them in simple tasks with you like making shopping lists or writing letters.
• Read! All good writers are good readers. Reading will help children make connections between text and language, and will stimulate their own creativity. Make reading from children’s books a part of a child’s daily routine.
• Model good writing habits. Practice with them by showing them how to correctly hold a pencil and how to form letters. Let them mimic your actions and make the exercise fun, not work.
• Let your children explore writing with a computer. For children who have difficulty writing by hand, learning to recognize words on a keyboard will greatly help the development of their writing skills. Word processors will allow them the freedom to explore language and writing without the frustration that can come with handwriting. Writing emails to friends and family can be a great way to develop a child’s writing skills on a computer.