Children are often eager to write. Writing often follows on from drawing and from the child's reading. Children like to be able to write their names, to label drawings or to write a story to go with a picture. They learn about reading through their writing, having to think about the sound and how words look. When they see that writing is a way of telling someone something, just like talking, they usually want to try it for themselves.
You can help them by doing the following:
- Get young children used to making the shapes of letters by joining dots or using a pen to go over shapes you've drawn in pencil.
- At the beginning, don't worry too much about untidy writing. You don't want to put them off having fun when they're learning.
- Don't worry if your child crosses words out when they're writing. Lots of children try out different spellings until they feel a word looks right. Get them to try out words on scrap paper, then put the word in its proper place when they are happy with it.
- Write a story that your child has told you. They can learn from watching you write and can help by suggesting letters and spellings.
- Help them to make their own labels, notices, cards and books.
- If they want to write a story, help them to think of what its about, what happens and how it ends. Ask questions about the characters in the story. You (or they) could write down some notes to help them remember all their ideas.
- Explain that they need different words to write about the past (we walked to the shops yesterday), present (today I am here) and future (tomorrow I will go swimming).
- Use lower case rather than capitals. Children find it easier to practise the patterns of the letters that way.