Writing is an important part of our daily lives. It is, however, a difficult skill to learn and master. By getting a head start with some simple activities, you can help your child begin to develop his writing skills at an early age. By doing so you will be contributing to his future success as a student and as an adult while teaching him how to express himself. Whether students are writing by hand or on the computer, many assignments and exams require students to write short answers or longer essays as a way of assessing what they have learned. As students get older, they will be expected to show more sophisticated writing skills, and to complete more sophisticated tasks through their writing. In addition, many colleges and universities require students to write essays as part of their admissions application.
So writing is an important skill you need to help your kids learn. Here’s a few tips on how to develop writing skills in kids:
Regular reading is a stepping stone to better writing and helps kids’ strengthen their writing skills. It helps expand children’s vocabulary and shows them different ways of using words. This also makes it easier for them to use these words in their own writing. With younger children, make sure you’re reading together every day and encouraging their love of reading as they grow.
Start Writing Early
Educational technology advances show that reading and writing development are intertwined in early learning. The physical act of writing letters and early words enhances the child’s ability to read. The complementary relationship between reading and writing continues long after these early efforts. Parents enhance their child’s skills dramatically by encouraging the writing habit in childhood.
Provide your child with spelling help when he’s ready for it
When your child is just learning how to read and write, he may try different ways to write and spell. Our job is to encourage our children’s writing so they will enjoy putting their thoughts and ideas on paper. At first, your child may begin to write words the way that he hears them. For example, he might write “haf” instead of “have”, “frn” instead of “friend”, and “Frd” instead of “Fred.” This actually is a positive step in developing his phonemic awareness. Keep practicing with him, and model the correct spelling of words when you write. As your child gets older and begins to ask more questions about letters and spelling, provide him with the help he needs.
Lead your toddler in word games.
There are many ways you can introduce the concept of words to your toddler—you could draw a word with a corresponding picture, you could have your toddler practice writing words after you write them, or you could play “Snowman.” (It’s like “Hangman,” but child-appropriate!) Draw lines for each letter in a word, have your toddler guess letters for the word, and each missed letter gets one part of the snowman.
Give them freedom.
Although it may seem tempting to try to lead your toddler into becoming a wordsmith by age 2, one of the best things you can do for your child is to simply step back and let them explore what it means to write all on their own. They may imitate you or try to write words from their own books, but rest assured that play is the work of childhood and your little one always learns best through free play.
When it comes to writing actual letters, the most important thing you can do is let your child learn at his own pace. Don’t push if your child resists or doesn’t seem interested. There’s plenty of time to learn reading and writing, and kids can’t fully develop those skills until they’re developmentally ready.
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