Helping Children Develop Writing Skills through Play

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Todays author is Angela from the blog Days in Bed. Angela is a Parenting and Lifestyle blogger. She writes about being a Mother, The Parent as Teacher, Chronic Illness, Adrenal Insufficiency and Yoda the family dog.

I recently wrote a post on “Ways to Increase your Child’s Interest in Reading“. Today I will give a few tips on how to support your child as they learn to write. In particular how to promote writing through child lead play.

The very first form of written expression is called mark making. Toddlers and young children begin to develop this skill when they are given the chance to draw, using crayons and pencils.

Parents can help young children to practice holding a crayon or pencil as they create and draw. The child will most likely hold the crayon incorrectly. This does not matter. The important thing is that we allow our kids to express themselves on paper and have fun. As a child get’s older, their ability to write will improve.

When my daughter started nursery she was required to practice her name every morning. The children were given their name on a laminated sheet of paper and would sit to copy the letters before going to play. Although this was a good idea, I wasn’t too keen on this idea.

I much prefer to incorporate writing into play rather than sitting a 2 1/2 or 3 year old down and expecting them to write. I still remember sitting in class as a 7 year old repeatedly joining the letter C. How boring! There are so many fun ways to practice writing and personally repeating letters in not my idea of fun!

At home we have a white board which I generally use to write lists, things I need to do, shopping lists and meal plans etc. As Sylvia has grown she has become more and more interested in the board and she has literally taken over. She will run to the board and write whatever needs to be written. She loves to role play “Mother” and writing on our board has really helped her to improve her writing skills.

Sylvia’s Year 2 class have a weekly spelling list that they are expected to learn. At first she was really struggling. We tried to get her to sit and learn the words. This did not work. We then switched roles and let her be the teacher. We both write her words onto our whiteboard each week as a game and her spelling results has gone from 3/4 out of ten to 8/9 out of 10.

There are lots of fab ways to make writing fun. Sometimes Sylvia will role play as waitress and take cafe orders in her little notebook. Other times she may be a teacher to all her teddies and make a class register.

Children love to role play and copy adults. Introducing literacy into role play can really help boost a young child’s interest in writing.

This week Sylvia and I were sent a pack of alphabet cards created by “The Appealing Rabbit”. Each deck includes the English, Danish and Norwegian Alphabet.

The cards are educational and are designed to support children’s literacy in particular they are made to help develop correct letter formation.

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Sylvia and I sat at the table and had a good look at the cards. The designs were very funky and appealing to both myself and my child. We decided to first have a good look at the pictures. We spent some time putting the cards in alphabetical order. Sylvia was able to name all the letters.

Angela

The deck of cards are made from a plastic wipe on- wipe off material and come with a non-permanent marker pen. Once we had sorted the cards, Sylvia began practicing her letter formation. She really did enjoy it and was able to quickly erase any mistake and try again.

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I wasn’t sure whether or not Sylvia would be interested in sitting and writing individual letters but the fact the cards are wonderful artistic added to the excitement of the activity and my daughter really did enjoy the task.

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Although the cards are primarily created to help improve fine motor co-ordination and letter writing, they can also be used to play simple spelling games and to practice phonics and letter sounds.

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As a qualified Early Childhood Teacher, I really liked the Appealing Rabbit alphabet cards. They are not “just” for struggling children but can be used by any child as a way to make writing and learning the ABC’s more fun.

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What I personally like about the cards is the fact they are larger than any alphabet cards I’ve come across before. They are not dinky or small and are made from good quality materials. I don’t believe they would tear easily.

I also like the reusable nature of the cards and the fact they can be used as a  game. I asked my daughter if she would like to keep the cards or if she would like to give them to a friend. My child wanted to keep them. They are both appealing to me as the parent/teacher and to my six year old child.

Using Alphabet cards, writing lists and role playing are three great ways to help enhance a child’s writing skills. This can make the task more fun for both the child who is struggling with literacy but also for a parent who is wanting to promote literacy and writing through games and child lead play.

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