3 Ways Writing Helps Early Reading

3 Ways Writing Helps Early ReadingTo put it simply, reading affects writing and writing affects reading. In particular, learning to write can help children develop and reinforce the skills they need to become effective readers. Some of the most significant benefits that learning to write can have on a child’s reading ability include:

1. Writing helps children learn phonics

When children learn to write, they are also learning the Alphabetic Principle, that is, the letters of the alphabet (in particular, their visual representation) and the sounds that each letter makes. When a child writes a word, they need to ‘hear it’, then they have to associate the sound they hear with a letter. As children write, they are constantly performing this task of linking sounds to letters.

2. Writing develops a range of skills

Writing requires children to apply a range of skills, including those used for reading. Children need to develop their motor skills to write using a pen or pencil. They need to use logic, for example, if they’re writing a story with a beginning, middle and end. It also requires them to consider the audience they are writing for, and to use their imagination. Learning to write is therefore a much harder task than learning to read, and performing all these tasks at once helps give a child more confidence when it comes to reading.

3. Writing gives children a head start on handwriting 

Adults may take for granted many general rules of print that children learn when learning to write, for example, writing left to right, writing from the top of the page to the bottom, putting spaces between words, paragraphs, etc. When learning to write, children become more aware of these concepts and understand how and why they are used, which gives them a more complete understanding of books they read.

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3 Story Writing Tips for Kids

3 Story Writing Tips for KidsStory writing is a great way for children to use their imagination and practise their writing. It’s a good idea for them to practise story writing as it is something they will need to do in school. Sometimes it can be challenging for children to come up with ideas for stories, getting these ideas onto paper and writing their story in the correct structure. Some effective ways to help your child with their story writing include:

1. Create a Story Board

A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story. It resembles a comic strip and can be a fun way for a child to plan their story as it allows them to draw pictures and visualise what will happen. There are many story board templates available for free online, or you can easily create your own. Before filling in their story board, your child can brainstorm some ideas for their story on a piece of paper and then start illustrating these ideas in their story board. They can even include text in their story board if they want to.

2. Provide help beginning the story

If your child is finding it hard to get started writing their story, you can try and write the beginning of the story for them, or maybe just give them an idea to start with. Or you can provide them with an ending, and then they can work out the plot and characters based on that.

3. Read a story book before writing

To help familiarise your child with story structure, read them a story with a traditional ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ before they start writing their own. Explain how the story is structured and ask them to make sure they write their own story in the same way.

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5 Everyday Activities to Improve Writing Skills

Everyday Writing ActivitiesLearning 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.

Envelopes

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.

Cards

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

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.

Notes

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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Taking the First Steps at Writing

Developing basic motor skills is crucial for your child to be able to write letters, and eventually words. One of the first steps to developing fine motor control is for a child to trace over dotted lines forming a letter. This helps them hone their motor skills while learning letter formation at the same time.

When starting out to write, encourage your child to grip their pencil properly in order to develop good handwriting skills. The ideal way to hold a pencil is with the thumb, index and middle fingers holding the pencil. This is sometimes known as the ‘tripod grasp’. Holding a pencil this way ensures lots of movement to write, whilst at the same time allowing the hand to remain stable.

Not only is proper grip of the pencil important, but so is good posture. Remind your child to keep their feet flat on the floor, and to encourage them to keep their non-writing hand on the table. This hand keeps their paper secure as they write. Your child’s back should be straight, not slouched.

Once your child begins to gain proficiency with basic motor skills and writing, there are several things you can do to encourage them to continue improving their writing skills, including:

Writing notes

Try and write regular notes to you child, encouraging them to write back to you. Even if your child is at the emergent literacy stage and is unable to read, writing notes is an excellent activity to promote writing for a purpose and to encourage letter formation.

Keep a pencil handy

Create a writing-on-the-go kit that contains a range of writing implements and stationary. Put everything in a zip-lock bag and take it with you when you go out. Your child will then be able to write anytime, anywhere!

Display writing attempts at home

It’s often common practice to display children’s artwork around the home. However, try displaying your child’s attempts at writing as well. This will send your child the message that you are proud of their attempts at authorship. This kind of encouragement is essential for building early writing skills.

Allow your child to work out spelling

Don’t be concerned if your young child is inventing lots of words when attempting to write. This is completely normal and this ‘invented spelling’ stage is an important milestone. Quite often children will spell very phonetically (e.g. ‘wnt’ for went, ‘dgz’ for dogs). This will improve with time and practice.

Take every opportunity you can to encourage your child to spell words for themselves. If they want you to write something for them, ask them what sound can they hear at the beginning? What sound can they hear in the middle? What sound can they hear at the end? Even if they miss a few letters, it’s great spelling practice for your child.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!