Support budding authors with these simple strategiesWriting is first and foremost a means of expression and communication. During the early childhood year, written expression can be anything from scribbles and drawings to letters and words. Here are some ways you can support children's efforts at written expression:
- Focus on the process, not the product. It is best to let go of the models and expectations for a perfect finished product. This is a time for children to experiment with drawing and writing as a means for communicating thoughts and feelings. Children's art and writing is always unique and perfectly their own!
- Provide plenty of plain paper. Children need s-p-a-c-e to write and draw in. Large sheets of unlined paper allow children to explore the winding nature of an "S" or the straight line of a "T."
- Offer a wide variety of writing tools. Can you write with crayons, markers, paintbrush, pencils, a banana? Of course! A wide variety of writing tools allow children to experiment with the feel of writing and build the fine motor muscles of the hand.
- Introduce the "reason for writing." At group time, demonstrate all the different ways peole use writing. This can include list-making, sign-making, letter writing, titling, note taking, story writing.
- Add writing to art. Invite children to "title" their art or tell a story about their pictures. Drawings are the first step to writing.
- Place writing materials in all learning centers. Once children are inspired by the many ways to write, they can put them into action by making signs in the block area, lists in the dramatic play area, and stories and poems in the library area.