The Importance of Teaching Children to Write
Offered by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools, an enriched preschool with supreme child care services, helping children to flourish in all aspects of life.
Language acquisition is an orderly process that consists of listening, speaking, reading and writing. A child must have a strong foundation in the first three along with strong pre-writing skills before learning to write.
Developing Pre-writing Skills
Writing seems simple. What is so hard about picking up a crayon or pencil and moving it in a manner that produces symbols, that all go together to form a written language? Plenty.
In order to write, a child must first develop motor skills and strengthen the muscles that will provide the stability needed to hold and manipulate a writing instrument. This means training the arm muscles down to the thumb and index finger that will eventually hold the writing instrument.
Along with these motor skills, eye-hand coordination must also be mastered. Preschool teachers lay the foundation for writing skills by engaging children in activities that at first glance seem silly, but these activities are designed to develop these skills.
Use these activities to develop both eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Use oat ring cereal and glue onto pre-printed straight lines.
Thread oat or multi-colored ring cereal onto pipe cleaners.
Recycle old tissue paper by squeezing 1×1 inch squares over a pencil eraser. Dip the tissue-covered eraser in glue and then place it on a pre-printed shape. Repeat until the shape is completely filled with the tissue paper squares.
Use mini salad or serving tongs to pick small items and place in a bucket or bowl.
Play with clay.
Any activity that involves picking up small objects and placing them in a predetermined location can help with pre-writing skills. Since these activities involve small objects, make sure the child is properly supervised.
When children are ready to pick up a writing instrument, make sure it is a either a jumbo pencil, chalk or crayon. Gradually, as the child gains more muscle control, they can “graduate” to a regular-sized writing utensil.
Motivation and Opportunities
Most children are eager to write. If a variety of opportunities to write abound, then motivation will never be a problem. Try the following fun strategies to keep motivation high:
Place shaving cream or pudding in a gallon size plastic storage bag. Form letters or shapes by pressing over the plastic. For real fun, skip the plastic storage bag!
Use a paintbrush dipped in water to “write” letters on a sidewalk.
Line walls with butcher paper and encourage child to write on the walls.
Rotate a variety of colorful paper, stickers, paints and other writing supplies in a special writing station for easy access.
Have children dictate stories so that they can begin to relate how writing and stories go together.
Parents can provide a variety of age-appropriate resources for a language-rich environment. Plenty of opportunities for speaking, listening and reading experiences will lead to better writers. Most importantly, parents teach best by being good writing role models. Learning to write is not just taught. It is fostered.