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.
If and when I pack them a lunch, a simple note in their lunchbox.
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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Homeschool Epiphany says
These are excellent ideas. I normally just write on a paper or personal dry erase board so they can see it, but I will definitely put your suggestions into practice. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing! Sometimes I make a list of things we are going to do that day on a dry erase board and then we mark them off together. I definitely want to try your idea about leaving notes around the house for my kids.
The labels on things all over the house took off so well, that my kindergartner loves labelling things herself. I just found a ping-pong ball labelled with the cat’s name under the chair. She also loves getting real mail to open with simple letters from family (even mom).
All excellent ideas! I forget how powerful modeling is, and how much seeing things visually helps me learn personally, what a great reminder, thank you. I am very excited about this series and will be following it. I will be homeschooling kindergarten next year, and your post got me thinking about journal writing. Do you recommend journal writing for a kindergartener? If it’s a good idea for that age, how would you structure it? Thank you!!!!
Roberta Asbill says
When my younger sons were beginning and not yet ready to read I had their chores on 3×5 cards on the refrigerator. At age 4 my younger son’s responsibility was to feed the pet rabbit every morning. I drew the clock, the time on the clock face that he was to do the chore and drew a picture of a boy feeding a rabbit. (I am NOT an artist) with the words “feed Hoppy” under the picture; this helped them learn to tell time, and to read before they were ready to read words. As they got older, the pictures became words. This also helped them stay on track getting ready for school in the mornings as they could look at their schedule, see what they were to do at what time, check the clock to see if it was time yet. (Of couse I had to remind them…they were normal children.
I will be trying this immediately with lined index cards to show that mommy tries to stay between the lines too.
Very useful ideas. I am so much concerned about my 8yr Angel to increase her habit of reading n writing.Will try these tips.
Hi Becky, your resources have been of great help to me. Keep up the good work
Indiria Sidoine says
I love the idea of the messages.This can awaken their curiousity
Yes! You’re right!
Beautiful and excellent suggestions! getting started right away with labels, for my 5 year old. Following this series !
Yay! I love labels. 🙂
Andhvishwas khan says
Your way of teaching and ideas are super hit. I love it. Thanks to you Ma’am.
You’re welcome! 🙂