Writing is such an important literacy skill because it gives us a way to express ourselves. As a teacher, parents often ask me for advice on how to help their child in writing. In this blog, I will share a few ways that parents can support their child’s writing development in fun ways.
Writing isn’t always about writing paragraphs or stories. Writing can be functional too! One way to encourage your child to write is to ask them to help you write lists. Do you need to go grocery shopping? Ask your child to write a list of things that they would like you to buy. Christmas is coming up, so have your child look through a department store catalog and write a Christmas wish list. If your child is a beginning reader and cannot spell all the words, encourage them to sound out the letters they hear in the word. For example, they might spell cookies as /cukees/ or /cookys/ or even /ckeez/. Please do not correct your child’s spelling at this point. You want your child to feel helpful and proud of their contribution. If your child is a pre-reader, having them draw pictures of things on the list is totally fine! This may take a little longer, but ultimately, your child will love feeling involved and included and it will show them how writing lists is a real life skill.
I remember writing little notes and putting them in my kids’ lunch bags. Sometimes my note would simply read, “I love you! Have a great day!” Other times, I would add a little joke to the note. My hope was that they would read my words and experience a little joy in the middle of their school day. They would often come home and tell me, “I read your note, “ with a big smile on their face. The extra time I took to add a little message to their lunch was worth it because it made their day! Kids love reading notes that are written directly to them. As a family, write notes to each other and leave them all around the house. You can put notes in your kids’ lunch boxes like I did, tape them on the bedroom door, or even make a family mailbox out of an old tissue box! Encourage your child to write back to you and continue the conversation. This activity not only makes your child feel special, but it will encourage them to write themselves. They will be curious to see where you put the next note and what you will share with them.
Writing with Playtime
This next idea is kind of sneaky. The next time that you are playing a pretend game with your child, add in a little bit of writing. If you are playing “Restaurant”, have your child take your order and write down what you want to eat. If you are playing “Doctor”, have your child be the doctor and write you a prescription. If you are playing “Store” have your child make item signs and include the prices of the items. This last idea not only encourages writing, but slips in a little math as well! Adding writing to play not only makes it fun, but eventually your child might start including writing while they are playing all on their own or with their friends.
In closing, I hope that you have been inspired by one of all of these writing tips. Encouraging your child to write is not difficult, but it may require a little creativity and patience. Just remember, all writing is valuable. Praise your child for their efforts and write on!