In learning to write, your child first needs time to explore a variety of writing tools. Over time you will introduce how to hold writing tools properly and your child will begin to perfect her skills in using those tools. For now, the goal is to introduce a variety of writing tools and give your child opportunities to explore those tools as a way to promote her fine-motor strength and skills.
What Your Child Should Know
Writing is an essential part of the school curriculum. At this stage, the skills your child will learn include:
- Recognizing and naming different types of writing tools
- Having a good grasp on how to manipulate and work with all types of writing tools
- Knowing how to care for and organize her writing tools
- Knowing how to sharpen a pencil, put lids back on markers, and put crayons back into the box
How You Can Help
Prepare a writing center: This is a place your child can go to color, draw, write, and explore different types of writing tools and paper. A writing center can be a specific table and shelf or it can be a box that you keep filled with your child's writing tools. Keep the writing center creative and accessible so your child will find exploring the writing process fun and interesting.
Add a variety of writing tools to your child's writing center such as crayons, thin markers, thick markers, pencils, colored pencils, and so on. It isn't necessary to put every type of writing tool you have out at one time. You may want to rotate items so the writing center stays fresh and interesting.
Include different kinds of paper and a clipboard or note-book to promote more interest in writing. Include envelopes, stickers, stamps, and other items that your child can integrate into the writing process and that will promote creative thinking. Add a few envelopes and your child may wish to pretend her writing center is a post office where she can write letters. Add a clipboard and your child may pretend to write up orders or lists.
Continue to rotate different tools and materials that will promote your child's joy in the writing experience and invite her to continue building her fine-motor strength and skills needed for future handwriting success. For more ideas, see this Writing Center from Pre-K Pages ( www.pre-kpages.com/writing_center/).
Reflect, Revise, Revisit
As your child spends time at the writing center, take notice of her choices in writing tools and which tools she avoids. Do a little investigating to find out why she might not enjoy a specific tool. Is it broken? Does it need to be sharpened? Does your child not know how to use it effectively? See what you can do to help.
If your child isn't showing any interest in the writing center, you may need to be more involved. It is always more fun when two people interact with each other. You can role-play together or simply sit down to color and draw together. Writing shouldn't feel isolating and lonely. Rather, it can be a rich environment and experience you both can enjoy together.