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Monday, 25 April 2011

Early Writing

In her Child Care Exchange magazine article, "Encouraging preschoolers’ early writing efforts," Leslie Falconer observes, "If there’s one object common to preschools and child care centers the world over, it’s pieces of paper covered with looping scribbles made by small hands learning to hold a pencil or crayon.  The next time you’re cleaning up at the end of a busy day, though, consider taking a closer look at those scribbles.  They’re actually samples of early writing, and an invitation for you to channel those small hands into recording their new ideas and creative thoughts....

Early writing — scribbles, drawing, a child’s first attempts at letters or his name — develops more than just fine motor skills.  It is a way for children to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others.  L earning about writing — as with reading — begins in infancy.  Before children can sound out letters, or even hold a crayon, they can observe an adult making marks on a notepad or a letter to Grandma.  Children watch their teachers write key words on a large piece of paper as they brainstorm ideas around a theme.  When the adult rereads the idea list, children make the connection that words can be expressed in symbols to be reread later.  For preschool-aged children, dictating words and ideas to an adult teacher — an activity called story dictation — who can then read them back to the children in their own words, can be a very empowering experience.  Inviting children to make creative choices in their storytelling enhances that accomplishment.