Our Kindergarten student has no school today. What shall we do? She’s reading above grade level; but have we written any stories lately? Nope! Encouraging writing, here we go! Today we will be authors!
Encouraging Writing: Where Do We Start?
Young children love to write because it makes them feel like a grown up. Encourage their writing at very early stages of development even before they understand letters, words or sentences. Adults play a very important role in all stages of a child’s writing development.
Encouraging Writing: Before Writing Starts:
- Encourage writing by modeling your own writing by “thinking aloud” when you are making a list of things to do or a shopping list. Show your child how you use writing throughout your day.
- Try to find a reason for your child to write at least once every day. Suggest ideas to write about such as: a note to a friend or family member, an addition to a list, labeling a drawing, copying a word, copying from a book, adding to a list of things to do, writing a word to evaluate a book, labeling or adding details to a story illustrations, dictate to them something they can write down.
- Encourage them to role-play familiar jobs that involve writing. (e.g. restaurant, store, doctor, library, pharmacy).
- Provide a variety of writing materials to use that include different types of paper and markers (paper, pencils, crayons, chalk, easel, post its, index cards, scraps of paper, markers). Along with traditional materials, allow them to be creative by writing on napkins, paper bags, sidewalk, driveway, old mail or cards; whatever and wherever they think would make writing fun! (with limits of course). Tip: Make it portable by storing in a zip lock bag. Ready to go when they are!
Encouraging Writing During Writing:
- Let children create picture books by stapling 4 or 5 pieces of paper together. Once they start drawing and writing words you can guide them to creating a 5 page story. Cover page, what happened first, then what happened, then what happened and what happened at the end. Beginning authors can use “the End” on the last page to complete the story. Writing is a process that takes time. Be patient and rejoice for each page.
- Be available to answer questions that they may have or provide additional materials to support their writing.
- Let children invent their spelling. By eliminating the stress of spelling everything correctly while writing, children will learn how to express their thoughts in writing. Writing phonetically, (the way it sounds) will help build their confidence as writers and help them be better able to read their writing back to you. Don’t worry, they will begin to ask you how to spell using conventional spelling when they are ready.
Encouraging Writing After Writing:
- Ask children to read to you their writing. After they finish reading, congratulate them and take the opportunity to repeat their accomplishments. Suggest one or two ideas they may want to try next time. Allow them the opportunity to make additions if THEY want to during the reading. RESIST the temptation to make MANY suggestions.
- Celebrate their accomplishments by giving them opportunities to share their writing with others.
- This sharing time can easily become a teaching time by asking questions about their writing. Questioning will help them expand their thinking for future writing. Encourage their writing by asking questions such as:
- “Emily, why did you decide to put Abby in the story with you?”
- “Lowyn, I see that you put your animals in a park? What other animals might you see in the park?”
- “Teagan, I like how you drew a blue dress on the little girl. A good color choice. I like blue dresses too. Do you have other colors that you like?”
- “Meghan, how did you come up with the idea for your book?”
- “Declan, why did you decide to add that detail to your picture?”
- “Connall, I noticed you reading your story, while you were writing. Can you tell me why you were doing that?”
Finally, young children love to write. Keep reminding yourself that writing is a process that takes time. Sit back and ENJOY your new author’s journey!
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