If it were possible to peek inside a child's head when she is learning to write, you'd witness, according to one of the first literacy researchers, Edmund Burke Huey, one of the most "remarkable performances that civilization has learned in all its history." Here are some activities to help a preschooler on that complex, marvelous journey toward literacy learning.


Make a Word Box

When I was teaching at the High/Scope preschool, we used to give every child a small recipe box with empty index cards at the start of the year. This "word box" was always kept nearby so that new words could be collected and used or referred to for children's writing activities.

Tip: Make sure that each word is accompanied by a small, simple sketch representing that word.


Label, Label, Label!

Look around your classroom. How many words do you see? A print-rich preschool classroom has meaningful words taped, glued, or written on objects and equipment in each learning center. To make labels, use a large, clear font to type out a list of items around the room and tape the printed words on the objects.

Tip: Use a camera to add pictures to labels.

High Tech

Make an Art Documentary in 15 Minutes or Less!

The idea of collecting and displaying children's work is not new, but now there are many exceptional ways to digitally document a child's literacy development. The next time you have a pile of artwork on the drying rack, grab your camera and start a Mozart soundtrack. Make sure all the lights are on the more light, the better. Zoom in for a tight shot on each picture before moving in on the next. By carefully planning the sequence of pictures, you can create a beautiful video showcase of children's artwork in a very short time. Play your movie during parent nights.