This post was made possible by Mama May i. Mama May i provided a story starters sample to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed within are my own.
As a literacy professor, I often stress to my students the importance of building a strong foundation for writing while kids are still in preschool and Kindergarten. At home, I practice what I preach – aiming to find non stressful, authentic ways for my children to engage in writing.
The writing is not always pretty, but that is kind of the point. For example, it takes someone used to phonetic reading to determine that my 5 year old son’s story above says, “I like fish that dig leaves in the garden on a birthday.”
Writing isn’t pretty when kids first start out. It isn’t meant to be.
Encouraging Your Child to Take Risks
Please, whatever you do, don’t help your children spell words correctly…later on this can cause kids to be afraid to take risks in their writing. For example, Buddy wanted to spell the word “fish” – he heard the /f/ sound and he heard the /i/, but he got stuck at the /sh/. This makes sense…the /sh/ sound is developmentally complex for this age. I asked him what he heard…as he repeated /sh/ he said, “I hear an “h””. I applauded his effort and we moved on.
If I had said, “It’s -sh” two things would have happened. Buddy would have learned that when he comes to a stumbling block, he can just ask for the answer without putting in effort. He would have also learned that his “guess” was wrong. As a child who likes to be correct, his immediate response would be to shut down and stop trying. I know this from working with hundreds of kids, but I have also seen him respond this way with other tasks.
A few months ago, Buddy started tying his shoes on his own. One weekend someone made a comment about the method he used when he tied his shoes and for the following month he refused to even try. He was just beginning to get his confidence with this new skill and needed encouragement…and an innocent observation by a bystander put everything at a standstill.
Provide Non-Threatening Ways for Your Child to Explore Writing
Mama May i, a handmade learning toys shop that I LOVE, makes a story starter kit that can really excite kids to write. Kids roll the 4 dice to determine the who, what, when, and where of their story – and kids then make up the WHY!
The boys took turns rolling the dice, and we used the included chart to interpret our symbols for our story.
The story starter comes in an adorable tin with a writing book, gel pen, symbol list and 4 handcrafted dice.
Even the three year old got in on the action. (Can you see his fish story?)
I love how this handcrafted toy set creates hours of fun and endless creative writing prompts for my kids. How do you motivate your kids to write?
Get $5 off a $30 purchase at Mama May i when you use the code DIAPEREDDAZEANDKNIGHTS (through 11/30/14).