In this article we discuss how to help young Children learn to write.
We know Children are always excited to learn new things and writing is no exception.
Often, your child first attempts at writing will be during his or her preschool years.
This is the period where they begin to learn about letters, symbols and numbers and how to write and draw.
At this age, kids begin to notice the people in their lives writing and by nature want to mimic what they are doing.
However, as much as there are qualified preschool teachers helping your kids at school, it is important for you as a parent to not neglect your duty to be involved in your child’s life and help them in their learning process.
Teaching young children how to write depends on various factors such as how easy it is for them to hold a pencil, or their interest in writing and many others.
Children who struggle with fine motor skills might find it tough to hold a pencil or write some letters.
Research shows that 6% to 8% of kids around the world suffer from dyspraxia or motor learning difficulties.
Teaching such kids or any other kid requires a lot of patience and persistence.
It entails more than handing them a pencil and showing them letters and images.
The good news is that you can teach them how to write from the comfort of your home.
This is how to help young children learn to write.
Here are 6 tips on how to help young children learn to write:
Make it Fun
There are different ways to make writing fun for children
Sometimes kids may not show any interest in writing.
This may prompt well-meaning parents or guardians to buy workbooks and have the kids practice on them.
However, this will just make them more disinterested in writing as there is no fun in tracing letters on workbooks over and over.
There are different ways to make writing fun for children.
You can have them try writing on different mediums such as writing on shaving foam, flour on the kitchen counter, on mashed potatoes or drawing letters using finger paint.
Encourage them to write on dry erase boards, chalkboards or on MagnaDoodle.
To make writing on paper fun, try using colored papers or crayons.
Put dots on paper that form letters and ask them to join them.
You can also write letters or draw shapes as they are watching and have them trace them while holding their hand.
You could also have them use Wikki Stix, Lego blocks, fridge magnets, Play-Doh, alphabet blocks, letter tiles and other toys to shape letters and numbers.
Guide them as they write and remind them to move from top to bottom or left to right.
This way, the kids will learn how it feels to make letters without having to struggle or worry about how to hold a pencil. It will also show them that writing can actually be fun.
For older kids, have them write few sentences about their fun experiences.
Kids are always eager to talk about fun things.
So, the next time you take your children to the zoo give them a writing prompt so that they can be thinking about it during their trip and afterward have them write about their experience.
Remember to always give your children positive feedback and encouragement for their writing so that they can become more confident about their writing.
This will prove to be useful to them even in later years as they get to tackle descriptive essay topics for college students.
Focus On Their Name First
Start by teaching your kids how to write their name
If you have no idea where to start teaching your kids how to write, then start by teaching them how to write their name.
This is because it is easier for them to remember their own names and they will enjoy signing their names on gift cards and letters.
It is best if you teach them how to write in both the upper and lower case.
Teaching them one case only will make it difficult for them to switch to the other case when they join kindergarten.
Here, you can cut out alphabetic letters from magazines to make a letter collage and have them arrange the letters that make up their name.
Alternatively, you can write their name with a highlighter on a piece of paper and have the kid trace over the name with a pencil.
You could also record them spelling out their name.
This will be a fun activity for them as kids love hearing their own voices.
You could also create a silly song or use a familiar tune to spell out their name and have them learn it.
After they learn the letters that make up their name, have them learn how to write on paper.
You can do this by holding their hand and helping them write.
Alternatively, write their name while they are watching you and explain to them how to write it.
Then encourage them to write it on their own.
Check each letter to make sure it has been correctly and correct the child when he or she gets it wrong.
Kids learn better when they are corrected in a way they can understand or relate to since it will be easier for them to remember.
Praise the children when they get the words correct and make sure that they practice constantly to perfect their writing and so that they do not forget.
This is how to help young children learn to write.
2. Strengthen Their Hands
Work on strengthening their hand muscles by building their fine motor skills
When learning how to help young children learn to write, they often struggle with their pencil grip. This could be the reason why they have a messy handwriting.
Sometimes, this could be because the pencil is too big in the child’s hands and therefore they cannot be able to balance it properly.
Other times, it can be as a result of weak hands.
The end result of this is dysgraphia, whereby a child has illegible handwriting and is unable to maintain the speed writing demands.
This condition affects 6% to 34% of developing children worldwide.
To correct this, work on strengthening their hand muscles by building their fine motor skills.
Encourage them to use their thumb and index fingers to grasp or pinch objects.
You can also buy them toys with tongs since they will encourage the use of the thumb and index finger while playing with them.
Make sure that they use thick pencils or use pencil grips since they allow the kids to put the proper amount of pressure on them when writing.
You can also have them do some handwriting warm-up activities.
This will strengthen their fingers and eventually they will able to grip the pencil correctly.
A good pencil grip helps keep the wrist steady and allows one to make small movements of the fingers while moving the pencil tip in different directions.
Most children adopt the tripod also referred to as the three finger grip.
This grasp is achieved when the thumb and the index finger directly hold the pencil while it’s resting on the middle finger.
There are other types of pencil grasps that kids can adopt so do not force the tripod grip on them.
Just let them use the grip that they are most comfortable with.
3. Do not Panic If They Write Backwards
Most kids at the age of 5 to 8 years write numbers and letters in reversal.
In addition to this, some kids will write in mirror image.
Meaning they are writing from right to left.
This does not mean that they are suffering from dyslexia.
Normally, the left and write concept of the brain does not completely form until a child is 8 years of age.
This makes it a common behavior with children to write backward and luckily it can be rectified.
Do not stop your kids from writing in this way or make it a big deal when they ask you if they are writing correctly.
Constantly pointing out their errors will only limit their creativity.
This condition will eventually resolve itself but if you want to help, buy a blackboard with a wooden border.
Then mark the top left corner as the starting point using a smiley face and have your children practice writing on it.
Make them write the letters that they tend to reverse first until they get them right.
To prevent reversals, teach the children proper letter formation and help them group letters with the same stroke patterns together.
For instance, the “magic C letters” c, d, a, q, g and o all have a ‘c’ stroke and should, therefore, be grouped together.
You can also teach them about directionality since most reversal letters are left to right inversions like p/q and b/d.
By doing this, the child creates a strong visual memory of the alphabetic letters and is more likely to remember how they are written.
Make a Game Out of Making Letters the Right Size
A game could help your child understand the concept of letter sizes
Some kids often write huge letters since they find it difficult to write letters at an appropriate size.
To help them get better, first, see to it that your child understands the concept of sizes by asking them to write letters in different sizes on lined papers.
These lines will help the child create letters that are the right size and proportion.
Writing letters in proportion means that the lowercase letters are half the height of the uppercase letters.
Make a game out of this and reward them when they fill up the lined spaces completely.
Make sure that the capital letters stretch from the top to bottom line.
Writing on lined papers will help keep your handwriting straight instead of having some words uphill and others downhill.
If you do not have lined papers at hand, use a ruler to draw lines and have your kid practice.
With time, the kid will master the concept and will be able to write perfectly with no stress.
Make sure that they use the correct pressure when writing. Some kids tend to press down a tad too much when they are writing.
This makes it more difficult for them to make the smooth lines needed for writing cursive letters.
Help them ease up on their grip to allow them to write on the paper without the pencil marks going all the way through.
You can also ask your kids to help you write your shopping list or a thank you note to friends or relatives as this will help them understand that space can be scarce and therefore, they need to write in a suitable size so that everything can fit on the piece of writing material.
Use a ‘Space Kid’
A ‘Space Kid’ will help them become aware of the importance of spacing
Poor spacing while writing can be due to deficient hand and eye coordination or due to visual tracking issues.
If your kid is having difficulties in spacing out words, make for them a space kid by using a Popsicle stick. Have them draw a smiley face or a person on it.
Then when they are writing, ask them to place the space kid at the end of each word and start the next word at the end of the Popsicle stick.
This will allow them to leave adequate space between words and also help them become aware of the importance of spacing.
Alternatively, they can place their finger at the end of the word and start the next word in the space where their finger does not cover.
With constant practice, they will be able to write without the help of any tools.
This is how to help young children learn to write.
It is common knowledge that teaching a child the dynamics of reading and writing is not always simple.
However, this does not mean that it is entirely impossible to achieve.
With the right framework of how to do this; getting your child to master reading and writing should not be so challenging.
In this article, we provided some of the best methods how to help young children learn to write.
Which methods have you had success with in helping your child learn to write?
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Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.