Thursday, December 20, 2007

Learning to Write!

I remember when Sunshyne was learning to write. She would go through entire note books and draw just a few scribbles on each page. It was cute at first until I realized that every thing that I needed note book paper for would have her signature on it. Nevertheless, it's worth having patients for. Nothing describes the feeling of getting your first little letter from your child that says "I love you mommy!" There is a process to the writing madness of a preschooler. There's a lot involved with learning to write. Your preschooler must understand which direction the letters go on paper, that letters are important and symbolize something which has meaning, and eventually re-create letters to form their very own words. The process of writing goes something like this: 1. Scribbling: Which helps your toddler/preschooler realize that they can make a mark with the object and control what is drawn. This basically gives your preschooler the introduction to handling writing utensils and making something happen. 2. Constructive scribbling: which is the prelude to understanding that there is an order to the writing experience. This is where you will notice that the scribbles are going from left to right on the paper. 3. Understanding differences in written expression: This is evident when your child understands the difference between pictures and letters/words. 4. Actual Letters: Your toddler or preschooler may actually make shapes that look like letters and represent words. Don't be surprised if there very first, and favorite letter is the first letter of their name. It's called ego centrism, but we will talk about that at another time:) 5. Letter Trains: Now your preschooler understands that the symbols have meaning, that they are letters that form words, and that they go in a certain direction on the paper. It is now time for them to practice the letters and you may notice them practicing by making letter trains. This is a long string of letters that represent an idea or story. Have a little fun and ask your preschooler to read what she has written. 6. Actual Words: This is when your preschooler understands that the words are individual letters that make up a thought or statement. This is when you will begin to see spaces between the words on paper. 7. Spelling Sounds: Now your preschooler may be showing an interest in letter sound play and may be writing different beginning word sounds on paper. 8. Copying: Your preschooler will now be writing different words that she sees or may ask you to spell some words for her to write. 9. Actual Writing: Now you preschooler is organizing print and understanding how to write letters and words. Provide your child with lined paper and an array of writing utensils such as crayons, markers, pencils, pens, and even chalk (watch for allergies on this one). This will allow your preschooler to explore the world of writing in a number of venues and help you to understand where your preschooler is developmentally with writing. Allow your preschooler to make his "mark" on birthday cards and other important written correspondence to encourage learning. Happy writting!

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