For children ages 3 to 6
Reading and writing support each other. The more your child does of each, the better she will be at both.
When a child is just beginning, she tries different ways to write and spell. Our job as parents is to encourage our children's writing so they will enjoy putting their thoughts and ideas on paper. Provide them with spelling help when they ask for it.
What You Need
- Pencils, crayons, or markers
- Yarn or ribbon
- Writing paper or notebook
- Cardboard or heavy paper
- Construction paper
- Safety scissors
What to Do
The first activities in the list below work well with younger children. As your child grows older, the later activities let her do more. But keep doing the first ones as long as she enjoys them.
- Write with your child. She will learn a lot about writing by watching you write. Talk with her about your writing so that she begins to understand that writing means something and has many uses.
- Have your preschooler use her way of writing - perhaps just a scribble - to sign birthday cards or make lists.
- Hang a family message board in the kitchen. Offer to write notes there for your child. Be sure that she finds notes left there for her.
- Ask your preschooler to tell you simple stories as you write them down. Question her if you don't understand something.
- Encourage your preschooler to write her name and practice writing it with her. Remember, at first she may use only the first letter or two of her name.
- Help your child write notes or e-mails to relatives and friends to thank them for gifts or to share her thoughts. Encourage the relatives and friends to answer your child.
- When she is in kindergarten, your child will begin to write words the way that she hears them. For example, she might write haf for have, frn for friend, and Frd for Fred. Ask her to read her writing to you. Don't be concerned with correct spelling. She will learn that later.
- As your child gets older, she can begin to write or tell you longer stories. Ask questions that will help her organize the stories. Answer questions about alphabet letters and spelling.
- Turn your child's writing into books. Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, then add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.
All of the activities discussed so far offer a rich experience for children as they build their language skills. But you can do even more to support your child's learning.