I am super excited to kick off a 10-part writing series for preschool and Kindergarten, a collaborative effort of The Measured Mom and me. Today, I want to share some simple ways to model writing for your preschool or Kindergarten child.
The Importance of Being a Model
The starting point for teaching your child is to model it for him first. Do you want your child to know his colors? Model them first. Do you want your child to talk with respect? Model it. Fill in the blank any way you wish, and chances are in order for your child to learn it, he needs a model.
Being a model means we are explicit. We SHOW the child how to do it, not just tell the child to do it. Sometimes we model in more natural settings, while other times we set aside intentional teaching times. Sometimes we model how without much talk. Other times, we also explain our own thinking, our strategy behind the method. But the most important thing for a model is that we SHOW it.
This is very true when teaching young children to write. I’ll be the first to admit it: being a model can be a bit intimidating. But if you have a simple plan, it can be highly effective.
Model Writing for Your Child
One of my favorite ways to model writing to and for my own child(ren) is integrating it into natural settings. Today, I want to share three very simple ways you can model writing in natural ways.
1. Write your child a message.
In the classroom, I wrote a morning message to my class every day. It was basically a letter to the class on a white board that they interacted with in some way. While I don’t do this every day at home with my preschoolers and soon-to-be Kindergartner, I do include notes to them at various times and places.
The purpose? To model writing for my kids (and to let me know that I’m thinking of them.) Sometimes, I make a simple lesson out of the notes (such as, “Can you find the m‘s, like at the beginning of your name?”), but often they are used to pique the interest of my kids. “Mommy, read it to me!” they beg. Simple print. Modeled and read just for them. Here are just three examples:
At the breakfast table.
By their bed.
2. Write lyrics to a favorite song.
We are singers in this house. We have some form of music going almost constantly. So naturally, writing down the lyrics to a favorite song of the day is a great way to model writing (and reading).
I used our easel on this particular day, but I’ve used chart paper before as well. Even a simple piece of notebook paper could work! Sometimes we use our fun pointers and point as we sing it together.
Other times, I ask my kids to look for particular things. On this day, I asked NJoy (at 5 years old) to find and circle all the upper case letters with a dry erase marker.
3. Label items around your house.
Another idea that gets LOADS of comments when we have guests in our home is all the labels we have around our house. We have used these over the years in so many ways. It is such a simple and powerful tool for modeling writing; to show that print has meaning.
More Simple Ideas for Modeling Writing to your Child
- make a grocery list with your child
- write a letter to a family member, neighbor, or child’s teacher
- when you read together, point out the words to your child (showing him that the words are separate from the illustrations and carry meaning)
Modeling writing for your preschooler or Kindergartner can and should be naturally integrated into your day. Sometimes you may want to plan to focus on a particular feature of words (like capital letters, a certain letter, space in between words, or punctuation…you can read more about that in my book and print awareness post.) I am a firm believer that kids learn through multiple and meaningful exposure, so make it fun, playful and natural, especially at this age!
Your turn: What other ways have you modeled writing for your young child?
Stay tuned for more ways to teach writing to your preschool and Kindergartner. Visit this post to view all of the topics in the series!
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