Writing is an area of development that The Sensory Seeker has struggled with. He hasn’t got very good fine motor skills and so finds it hard to hold the pencil. If you think that learning to write is easy, then try putting your pen in the hand that you do not normally write with, then close your eyes and write your address. Was it as easy as you thought? There is so much to think about – not just the shapes of the letters, how to space them out, whether you have room on the paper, which directions to go from – plus any other distractions going on around you.
The Development of Children’s Writing Skills
When you start to write you do not need to worry about things like having ideas and imagination, talking about feeling or having a good memory – that will all come later. First you need to focus on holding the pencil, hand-eye co-ordination, time to experiment and being allowed to draw and scribble.
The writing journey
Writing goes through a journey, starting with mark making. I tend to not call it scribble as it is the first important step to writing. This then develops to tell a story. It may not look like it makes sense but it does to the child. Then comes the identifiable shapes and patterns – lines, squiggles and blobs. As control improves the shapes and letters become clearer. They learn the rules that writing goes from left to right, top to bottom. They leave gaps to show where the words start and finish. More letters will be used to tell the story. They start to spell. They begin to use their phonic knowledge. The write simple sentences. They learn about punctuation. They will write stories making sense phonetically, and they will learn about using the right word. Help to encourage extending their vocabulary. Spelling correctly comes later.
Encourage your child’s Writing
- Make a postcard.
- Let them make a shopping list, or write a recipe.
- Give them lots of stationery – fun notepads, stickers, post-it notes, fun pencils and rubbers.
- Let them copy words.
- Encourage them to make Thank You cards/letters.
- Let them use technology – you can get games where they can write with a stylus.
- Get a whiteboard or chalk board – where they can wipe off what they have written.
- Play family games that involve writing – like the Silly sentence game (where you write part of the sentence, fold it over, and pass it on for the next person to add their bit)
- Start a scrap book and they can write underneath what the pictures are.
- Let them draw a picture for the words you tell them.
- Write yourself – be a good role model.
- Remember that writing does not have to be with pencils/pens – you can use all manner of things to help them achieve the correct letter formation – sand, shaving foam paint, etc.
Here are some great blog posts for helping with Fine Motor Development to help those Writing Skills
5 Letter Learning Activities with Mega Bloks – Mom Inspired Life
Halloween Do-a-Dot Printables – Gift of Curiosity
Styrofoam Fine Motor Activity – Triple T Mum
Vowel Farm – There’s Just one Mommy
How to Encourage Writing with Young Children – My Big Fat Happy Life
Letter of the week Letter B – One Beautiful Home