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How can I help my child's WRITING DEVELOPMENT at home?

Top strategies to support your child with his/her WRITING DEVELOPMENT

There is so much I could write here, but I’ll attempt to keep it short and sweet! There are many essential elements to learning to write. It is important to realise that children will naturally develop and progress at varying paces at this young age so try to avoid comparisons!

Mark-making and ascribing meaning to marks

I have often heard parents saying their children ‘just scribble’ when they write. However, this is the mark-making stage and is critical to writing development, so it should be encouraged! During Reception if children are at this stage it is helpful to call their marks ‘writing’ and ask them what their writing is about.   This will boost their confidence and motivate them to write more often and for varying purposes.

 

Hearing sounds and splitting sounds into separate sounds

Reading and writing will only happen once a child is competent at hearing sounds and breaking down words into sounds. Lots of verbal practice and fun and games can help this development at home. The traditional ‘I spy’ game is so useful for helping with hearing initial sounds. This could also be extended to “I spy with my little eye something ending with the sound....”   Having a box of objects and making up games (eg. “Find me something that starts with the sound...” “Which object has an ‘e’ sound in the middle?” and sorting objects into same sound categories etc...) is another useful and practical idea. In addition, playing with words and practising saying them slowly to segment them into their different sounds could be made fun by your child choosing his/her own exciting word and saying the word in slow motion in a humorous voice (eg. Stegosaurus could be said in a ‘dinosaur voice’ and stretched into the different sounds that can be said ‘steg – o – sau – rus.......s - t   - e   - g - o   - s - au - r - u   - s’).

Recognising letters and corresponding sounds

As your child begins to learn more and more sounds and link them to corresponding letter shapes he/she will transfer this skill to his/her reading and writing. Once children acquire this skill, alongside the hearing of and breaking words down into sounds, it is amazing how quickly reading and writing progresses. Before you know it your child will be reading and writing whole sentences! There are several games you could invent at home to promote letter/sound matching...one idea is to collect a range of objects with varying starting sounds and write out a card with the starting letter shape of each group of objects on (eg. collect and hide an apple, pen, string, spoon, teddy, car, biscuit, paper, sticker, motorbike, ambulance and write out letters a, p, s, t, c, b, m and ask children to put the object next to the starting sound they hear when they say the word of the object, once they’ve found the hidden object. You could even turn this into a race between you and him/her!).

Talk, language, vocabulary, reading opportunities and exposure to words

If children have good spoken language, it opens so many doors to subsequent reading and writing development. Maximise opportunities to talk and expand vocabulary throughout each and every day; it is an invaluable transferrable skill to all areas of learning, including reading and writing. I have written a previous blog about the power of talk in the early years and some ways in which you can help your child develop in this area www.bounceparental.co.uk/blog-news/item/50-it-s-all-in-the-talk.

Have access and opportunities to mark-make and write at home is helpful during the Reception year. However, it should never be onerous and instead could be made fun! Examples to encourage and promote writing skills include painting, writing in the sand, using a paint brush and bucket of water to write on the walls/ground outside, chalk, vehicles in the mud making letter shapes/writing names, writing a diary in a special book, writing birthday cards, writing invitations, writing shopping lists, Christmas lists, making information books of a topic of personal interest, making signs to include in their play etc...

Each school will have its own handwriting policy and way of forming letter shapes, so it is useful to find out how your child is being taught to form their letter shapes at school so you can reinforce this at home too.

There are many more ideas and curriculum information I could give you and adapt to suit the needs of your individual child so get in touch if I can help further (www.bounceparental.co.uk or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and look at the services on offer www.bounceparental.co.uk/bounce-services). In addition, you can follow Bounce on Pinterest for an expanding supply of early years’ ideas and information www.pinterest.com/bounceparental or sign up to Bounce’s FREE monthly newsletter to get offers, news and updates.

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