Young children are inherently curious, and they often love watching you best of all! As you go about your day, allow your student to observe you as you write (ideally on paper, rather than on an electronic device). This serves two purposes: It sparks her interest in the act, and it provides her with authentic examples.
This may feel unnatural at first, but speaking as you write helps your child begin to recognize the purpose of written communication in our society. A phrase as simple as, "I'm writing a list of the food we need to buy," can suffice. Then, when you visit the grocery store, show her the list and repeat its intended use.
In order to write, your student must first develop strength in her hand. Drawing is a fantastic way to accomplish this goal (and it also introduces your child to holding and controlling a writing utensil). Create drawing stations throughout your house (in the kitchen and living room, for example) and stock them with colored pencils, crayons, markers, paper, etc.
When your student finishes a drawing, consider asking her to tell you about her picture. If she is willing to do so, you can transcribe her exact words into a sentence (or several sentences) beneath the drawing. In this way, your child can start to see her thoughts take written form.
Many students struggle to form their first letters, and this milestone can quickly become a source of frustration. To decrease the likelihood of this outcome, try to make early writing fun; for instance, encourage your child to practice forming letters in a substance like sand or whipped cream.
If your student can identify the full alphabet, challenge her with a letter scavenger hunt. As your child uncovers various letters (whether on a cereal box or a monogrammed towel), prompt her to write the letter herself. Depending on your student's age and ability level, she might find all the letters in her name or all the letters in the alphabet.
Purchase small pads of paper for imaginative play use. For example, if your child likes to imitate a doctor, she can write prescriptions or recovery instructions on her notepad. A fledgling chef can pen meal receipts or shopping lists. Whatever your student's passion, there are likely numerous ways to involve the art of writing.
For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.
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