The key to success in reading and writing for students in school is to have a great role model. Children should see you reading and writing often! Think of the many reasons you write and invite your early writer to assist you. Creating grocery lists, recipes, and notes to teacher are just to name a few!
Here are prompts to help a Kindergartener to write at home or in the classroom:
- Take an old brief case and fill it with writing utensils (markers, crayons, pens, and pencils), a stapler, paper, and scissors. Teach the student how to staple papers together to create a book. Every few days, have the child get the briefcase out to “journal” with pictures, words (label) and/or sentences of what he or she has been up to. In no time a story will be created. This is great for traveling as well and the student will feel very grown up!
- Parents and teachers may have one or two extra cards from the Christmas greeting card box. Save all unused cards and create a greeting card center complete with stickers, markers, crayons, pens and pencils, and tape. Encourage your child to write simple sentences like, I love you, or I miss you. Allow them to send the cards to relatives and friends.
- Allow young writers to label household or classroom items, by sounding out the words. Food, cans, door, and table are all words they can learn to sound out.
- Use old magazines to find sight words the student is working on in class. Have the students place them into a shoebox labeled, “Words We Know” or “Words I Know” if at home. Make it a long project and work toward cutting and pasting 100 words to a poster or sheet of paper. For a more advanced activity, put some sentences together with the words, and have the student or students write a story about their sentence.
- Reuse- take discarded mail, food labels and empty food boxes to help students find and circle known words. By using empty food containers, you will be surprised how quickly a young child will begin to recognize the common words.
- Cover handwriting paper (tracing paper) with contact paper and have your child use a dry erase marker and an old sock to practice printing on the lines. I wrote an article for teachers about teaching young children to read names, which you can utilize with family member’s names. There is also a link to download free tracing (handwriting paper) printed with your child’s name. The site also allows you to print the whole alphabet in capital or lowercase letters for handwriting practice. Have the students write a story about a friend or a family member using the names.
- When reading a book that is well known by your child, talk about the beginning, middle and end of the story. Give your child a sheet of paper folded into thirds and have him or her retell the story with pictures, words or sentences. Have the student retell an event of the day and how it happened.
Last Words About Early Writers
Remember, with any fine motor skill, young children develop at their own pace. If you have an early writer who is struggling with writing, then take any one of these activities and make it less complex.
Work on letters and letter sounds before words. Learning the letters and the sounds will give your child the foundation to learn words. Do not overwhelm, but give every opportunity to practice.
If your child is having a difficult time holding a pencil, then there are pencil holders available, and you should give him or her a lot of practice kneading Playdough as this will strengthen dexterity.
On the other hand, if some of these activities are too easy for your child, then you can make them more complex and advanced.