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Ways to Encourage Writing Development


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  • Make creating art, drawing, and writing part of play.

There are so many fun ways for children to explore  and create writing.
Some ideas are:  Play-doh, shaving cream, painting with different items (brushes, finger paint, q-tips, sponges, cotton balls, string, the possibilities are endless), sidewalk chalk,
a variety of writing utensils (crayons, pencils, markers, colored pencils, dry erase markers), different kinds paper (notebooks, scratch paper, construction paper, colored paper, maker board), and art supplies (scissors, glue, stapler, tape, stickers, stamps).
  • Encourage your child to be an “author” and to “make books.”   

Using these specific words is powerful.  When a child begins to identify himself as an author, it means what he is doing is important.  Young children are more likely to think they can “make” a book than they are to think they can draw or write a book.

  • Praise your child’s efforts. 

Talk about the things you see, or ask your child to tell you about what he made.  View your child’s work from the perspective of what he did well and what he is trying to express.  Try not to focus on accurate drawings, correct spelling, capital letters, punctuation, etc. 
Research shows that it’s far more important to encourage the communication of ideas than to focus on the details of it. 
After telling your child all the smart things he did, you could pick one thing to teach or suggest he could improve upon. 
  • Encourage your child’s attempts to write. 

If your child scribbles something and then tells you what he “wrote,” take it seriously.  Let him take his “shopping list” to the grocery store or mail his (scribbled) letter to grandma. 
This is how children learn that words are powerful and have meaning.
  • Turn your child’s writing into books. 

Again, this sends the message that what your child is doing is important.
It would be great to have your child read his books to you at bedtime.
  • Make sure your child sees you writing.
           He will learn about writing by watching you write. Talk with him about your writing so that he begins to understand why writing is important and the many ways it can be used.
  • As your child gets older, write together.

            Have your child help you with the writing you do, including writing letters, shopping lists, to do lists, and messages.

  • Display your child’s art and writing. 

This is how your child knows his work is valued and important.

  • Use writing and art as ways for your child to express strong feelings.

This can be a positive way for a child to express emotions and thoughts that he is having difficulty putting into words.  For younger kids, that might mean drawing.  For older kids, writing in a journal can be an effective outlet.   

  • Speaking skills, reading, and writing are closely tied, so encourage your child to tell you stories.

  • At West Holt, kids often write about experiences from their life. 

Often, short (10-15 minutes) everyday events make the best stories (playing in the sprinkler, cooking with a parent, catching a toad, etc.).  Encourage your child to tell you those stories and remind them that would make a great story to write about tomorrow at school.  If it is summer time, you could encourage them to write that story at home.      


If you have questions about West Holt’s writing curriculum or your child’s writing development, feel free to contact me, or your child’s classroom teacher.