My three year old is very interested in writing her letters right now. As she was working on writing the letters of her friend’s name, I started thinking about ways that I may have already encouraged her and ways I can continue to encourage her to write. Here are a few tips:
- Be a Role Model: My children always see me writing: my grocery list, reminder notes, thank you notes for gifts, notes in their lunch boxes, and even typing on the computer.
- Provide a Writing Area: We have a little children’s table in our breakfast room. The table has provided hours of opportunity for my children to experiment with writing. I provide different kinds of materials (computer paper, stationary, envelopes, lined writing paper, white boards, etc.) for my children to write on. I also provide different writing utensils: pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. At least once or twice a day, my three year old will write something for a family member. If it’s made available, they will use it!
4. Play Games that Encourage Writing: When my son was younger, he enjoyed playing “restaurant.” He was the waiter and he would take our orders. He started out scribbling, then matched letters to the beginning sound of the word, then wrote the word with invented spelling. It was wonderful to see his writing develop over time, and he had a ton of fun playing (I must admit, my husband and I did, too)! Mental Note to Self: encourage three year old to play this game now!
5. Write Messages: Sit at a table and write messages back and forth to each other. You can do this even if your child is not able to write yet. Simply ask your child what the note says and then respond in writing to your child. This is a quick and fun way for your child to see how words make meaning and you are modeling writing at the same time. In the picture below, I began by writing (on a white board) “How is your day?” and read it to my daughter. She responded with a “G” and said good. I then repeated what she said and gave her another message, “I love you” – and read it to her. She responded with “TU” – Thank You – which is so funny, because if you verbally tell her you love her she thanks you then, too!
Often times, we forget that reading and writing go hand in hand. In order to become a better reader, you must write more and vice versa! If we read aloud to our children and play with writing every day, we are bound to raise fun loving, engaged readers and writers!
How do you encourage writing in your home?
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