Early childhood is an exciting period of academic growth. But for parents, it can also be a period of worry; for instance, how do you properly enrich your inquisitive student? How do you best encourage her development in literacies like writing? Luckily, there are a number of activities that you and your child can do from the comfort of your own home.
1. Provide her with authentic examples
t 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.
2. Describe your writing-related actions
t 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.
3. Stock your home with drawing supplies
t 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.
4. Pair her pictures with sentences
t 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.
5. Draw letters in sand, whipped cream or a similar medium
t 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.
6. Create a letter scavenger hunt
t 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.
7. Incorporate writing into imaginative play
t 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.
tFor more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.