Learning to write doesn’t always have to involve writing stories. There are many everyday activities that your child can help you with to practise their writing and help them understand that writing has practical purposes too. Some of the best activities include:
The Shopping List
Ask your child to help you write down what you need to buy at the supermarket. You can write down all the items together, or you can even tell your child the items and ask them to try and spell them on their own. This activity can also introduce your child to writing numerals if you’re buying specific quantities of items. You can then both go shopping and pick out each item on the list, demonstrating to your child what these words represent in real life.
If you have a letter to send, after you’ve written the address on the envelope yourself, try handing a spare envelope to your child and ask them to copy the details. This activity will introduce them to honorifics, e.g. Mr, Mrs etc., first names and last names, abbreviations for addresses, e.g. Rd, St., Ave. etc., and of course what an address is and how it is written.
Writing messages on cards is great because it introduces children to the basic structure of letter writing. You can teach your child who to address the message to, the correct salutation to use, and the correct way to sign off their message.
Emails are now a staple of everyday life, so introducing your child to writing emails early on will give them an invaluable head start and help develop their written communication skills. Writing emails will help them learn the structure and purpose of written/typed communications, that is, writing the correct salutation, the actual message that needs to be conveyed, the correct sign off, as well as the skill of summarising the email’s purpose in the subject line.
Encourage your child to post notes on the fridge, pin them to a pin board, or write them on a whiteboard and post your own notes in reply. You can also ask them to mark their weekly activities on the calendar. A great idea to improve their vocabulary is to hang up a ‘word wall’ – a poster or sheet of paper placed on the wall on which they can write down a new word each day. With every glance of the word wall, your child will reinforce their memory of these words and have a handy reference point to check their spelling.
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