Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of writing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking, Reading, and Singing here.)
Writing skills are developed long before a child actually starts writing out words at school. You can help prepare your child for this valuable skill when they are very little with any activity that works with their hand-eye coordination. This might be moving a bead along a string, or a knob along a track. This will help them develop their hand muscles. When a child can hold a pencil, using magnetic boards like those found at the library, can also help develop hand-eye coordination. Since children learn best by using a multisensory approach try using many different types of activities with them like the ones listed below.
Finger painting with pudding on paper is a fun tasty way to show that the movement of the child’s hand creates a pattern. Finger paint inside a sealed gallon bag lets your child play with the paint from the outside by pressing and pushing on the bag to draw shapes and letters. This is fun and educational.
Shaping letters with dough or “writing” in a tray with sand or salt will help children develop hand-eye coordination while working with letter and shape recognition.
When your child can hold a crayon, encourage them to scribble and make marks. Have them “sign” their name on a picture to introduce the concept that what they write means something. Often a child’s name is the first word they learn to write. Showing your child the letters in their name and giving them many opportunities to practice writing those letters will help them make the connection that letters create words.
As they get older, talk to your child about what they drew and write down a caption or write down a story with them.This again will help them make a connection between the spoken word and the printed language.
Skills take time to learn so don’t feel frustrated if they do not seem to be learning as rapidly as you would like. The important thing is that they be fun activities for you both to do and share together.
For more information on Every Child Ready to Read and fun ideas for building lifelong learners, stop by the Moline Public Library Children’s Desk!