Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Young Children and Writing: Where to Start

Writing is one of the five early literacy practices that caregivers can use to help children with early literacy development. Writing and reading go hand in hand because writing helps children learn that letters and words stand for sounds and that print has meaning. Babies and young children who are not ready to hold a pencil and write still need to develop muscle strength in their hands. Grasping rattles and other toys will help them practice and develop fine motor skills and the hand-eye coordination needed later for writing. Children who are able to hold a thick crayon or marker can scribble or draw. Even though the scribbles or drawings aren’t words, this still helps develop the fine motor control needed to hold a pencil and write.

Here are some fun activities to get your child ready to write and to practice writing:
  • Using scissors (It's okay if your child can't cut on a line at first) 
  • Coloring, scribbling, painting, and drawing 
  • Writing with an adult. For example, help your child create a play grocery list when you write yours. 
  • Playing with play dough or clay 
  • Tracing letters in sand, rice, shaving cream, etc. 
  • Stringing beads or pasta 
  • Singing and doing fingerplays like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Where Is Thumbkin?” 
  • Stamping paper with rubber stamps 
  • Opening and closing twist-top jars or bottles 
  • Building with interlocking blocks such as Legos 
  • Picking up small objects like Cheerios (Note: Always be careful of choking hazards.) 
  • Manipulating paper — folding, tearing, wadding it into balls 
  • Doing puzzles 
  • Using spray bottles or squirt toys in the bathtub 
  • Finger painting in the bathtub 
  • Writing/drawing on vertical surfaces (easels, paper on walls, etc.) helps children position their hands better 
Guest post by Allison C.

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