It’s time for lesson six in the Preschool & Kindergarten Writing Lessons series! Today I’m showing you how to inspire kids to write at home – for a variety of different purposes.
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Have you been following along with our preschool and kindergarten writing lessons?
So far This Reading Mama and I have shared:
1) How to model writing for your child
2) Tips for teaching children in different stages of writing (from scribbling to spelling)
3) How to do dictation with young children
4) How to help children find topics for journal writing (with a free picture chart)
5) How to “share the pen” as we write alongside our children
But how do we get our children interested in writing?
Today I’ll show you to inspire your child to write at home in different ways.
1. Sit down with your child and talk about all the different forms that our writing can take.
I had a little brainstorming session with my Three, Five, and Seven. I explained that we were going to make a list of different ways we might want to write. My Seven started us off with “books,” which was a bit ambitious for my preschoolers! I helped them come up with the rest of our list. They volunteered “get well cards,” remembering that we made these for Grandma just a month ago.
2. Share a set of writing supplies that will get your children inspired to write.
Really, it’s as simple as that. Gather some supplies and show your children how to use them. Here’s what we had at our house:
- lined note pads… you know, the ones you get for free at conferences? Save them for your kids. You can also grab pretty ones in the dollar bins at Michaels and Target.
- blank note cards (these were in the Target dollar bin)
- blank books … just fold two pieces of plain computer paper in half. Fold a sheet of colorful card stock for the cover and staple. I love to use my long-armed stapler for this.
- writing utensils (my kids love when I let them use ink pens)
- index cards
- sticky notes
- business sized envelopes … we get these in bulk at Sam’s Club. They’re perfect for writing notes to family members who live right here in our house.
3. Show your child how to use the supplies.
a. Demonstrate how to use the lined note pads to write a list. Maybe it’s a list of things they want for the birthday – or they’ll help you write the shopping list.
b. Let them write notes to a sibling or parent on the plain paper. Give them the envelopes to seal the notes, and deliver them to homemade mailboxes.
c. Your child can use sticky notes to label the house.
d. Index cards are great for writing short notes to help your child (or you!) remember something.
e. Blank note cards are for mailing to family and friends. They work especially well for thank you and get well notes.
f. Some children will be interested in using the blank books to write their own stories. At this age, that may mean just pictures… or pictures labeled with just a few letters on each page.
You won’t model all of these things in one day. In fact, upon seeing the bright new note cards, all three of my kids were excited to write a letter to Grandma. So instead of showing them how to use all the materials, I let them get to work. You can see my Three (almost Four) at work in the picture above.
My Five (he’ll be in kindergarten in the fall), is a very gifted writer and speller who struggles with perfectionism (it’s no surprise that this picture has him erasing instead of writing!). After he melted down because I wanted him to spell “dear” without my help, I finally showed him how. He spelled “grandma” perfectly but then couldn’t decide what to write about. I gave him many suggestions of fun things we’ve been doing, but he only grew more upset.
At which point I said he would need to go to his room if he wasn’t going to stop crying.
I’m sharing this example because I don’t want you to be discouraged if your child isn’t gung-ho about writing with you, or if a particular lesson feels like a “fail.” Just as we don’t give up teaching our kids to read because they have a bad day or book, we need to be persistent when we teach them to write.
I also think that when our kids start something they are fully capable of, it’s not a bad idea to have them finish it. (And I think that letting my little guy quit because he can’t get something perfect isn’t going to help him!)
4. Keep the writing supplies in an accessible place.
My kids know they can use these whenever they want to write for themselves, to each other, or to someone outside our home. I’ll make sure to sit down and model how to use the rest of the supplies so they’re inspired to write as often as possible!
5. Finally, make it easy for family members to communicate with each other in writing by setting up home mailboxes.
I love this family postal service idea from Frugal Fun 4 Boys. We’ll probably do these very simple paper plate mailboxes from Toddler Approved.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Preschool and Kindergarten Writing Lessons!
Ananta Kumar Paudyal
very useful pedagogical materials
I’ll have to try this. It looks like fun. Maybe I can have my girls start writing little notes and letters to their grandma who lives far away!
This has definitely gotten my four year old to write to Grandma. The only trouble is getting his mom to remember to address and stamp the envelopes!
I definitely need to set up a good writing area with all these goodies!