Learn Together – Grow Together is one of our family literacy programs for parents and caregivers and their children ages 3-5 years old. The program encompasses a variety of activities that range from sharing stories and rhymes, to gym time, free play, crafts and games. Parents learn ways to help their children in the early stages of reading and writing.
During one of our parent-time sessions, we discuss the beginning stages of writing. Children are not born knowing how to hold a pencil or even what to do with it. This is a skill that must be taught and modelled by parents. From an early age, children are eager to use their hands to grab things. Allow your little ones to use crayons or markers, for example, to scribble on a piece of paper. The scribbles may not mean much to you, but they are the beginnings of letter and word formation, as well as fine motor skill practice.
Often I hear from parents that their children don’t want to sit down and work on their writing skills. So at Learn Together – Grow Together, I always have examples of new and fun ways to practice writing. Here are a few:
- use sidewalk chalk
- use just your finger and write in the sand or snow
- cut up numbers and letters made of sandpaper, and use your finger to trace them
- in the bathtub or outside, write with shaving cream, or write on a big glob of it
- put acrylic paint in a Ziploc bag and tape the top, then practice writing on the bag with just your finger
- tape a long piece of ribbon to a pencil or stick and practice making letters in the air by waving your wand
- paint letters and numbers on large blank sheets of plain paper
Can you think of more fun ideas to add to the list?
It is also important for your children to see you modelling your writing skills. For example, if you are making a grocery list, or printing an address onto a piece of mail, ask your children to take part in the activity. Or let them watch you fill out forms and documents. As you show your children these skills, they will begin to understand that written print has meaning and that it is an important skill to have.
One of the tip sheets available for free download on the Centre for Family Literacy website is titled “Signs of Reading and Writing Development in Young Children.” It is on side 2 of the “Tips for Sharing Books” pdf. Here is the link to the webpage.
If you are interested in the fall session of Learn Together – Grow Together in Edmonton, please give us a call at 780-421-7323 for more information. Have fun learning and growing together with your children!