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Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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Tip

Practice Writing Letters and Words

 

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Practice Writing Letters and Words

Grades K – 2
Publisher

International Reading Association

Tip Topic Tips for Teaching Writing
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Why Use This Tip

What To Do

 

Why Use This Tip

Writing and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly. When children practice writing a letter of the alphabet or a word, it helps them recognize, and eventually read, that letter or word in other places and contexts. The mental process of handwriting also relates to other learned abilities, such as memory and recall, and spelling. Children experience a boost of confidence when they first write something, like their name, that others are able to read. And writing gives children another way to express what they think or feel.

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What To Do

  1. Writing can be a fun way of expressing yourself. Collect some handwriting samples from family members and friends, and ask the child to identify some of the characteristics. Don’t make any judgments about the quality of the writing—just help the child notice how different one person’s handwriting can be from another’s. For example:

    • Are letters spaced farther apart or closer together?

    • Does the writing slant to either the right or left?

    • Do the letters have lots of loops and curls, or are they unadorned?
  2. Make a personalized alphabet book with the child using the My Amazing ABC Book printout. If he or she has difficulty drawing a letter, draw it yourself on another piece of paper, describing each movement of the pencil as you make it. Or have the child trace the letter shape using his or her finger or a highlighter pen. Include pictures or photos of things that start with each letter.

  3. Help the child cut out the letters of his name from a magazine or newspaper and arrange them in order. Then ask him to trace each letter on a piece of paper.

  4. Look for opportunities throughout your daily routine to point out letter shapes. For example, you might show the child how a banana resembles the letter C, a tire is shaped like an O, or a hockey stick looks like an L. Have the child practice writing each letter.

  5. Encourage the child to explore different ways of writing his or her name. Can the child trace his or her name in sand at the playground or in new-fallen snow? With sidewalk chalk on the driveway? With shaving cream or a bar of soap on the bathroom mirror? In the summer try “painting” with water and brushes on walls or sidewalks.

  6. Demonstrate the purpose of writing in everyday life by asking the child to help you write a grocery list, address an envelope, or write a reminder note. As he or she moves from practicing letters to writing words, don’t worry about perfect spelling. Guessed-at or phonetic spelling can actually help young writers understand how language is constructed. Some studies show that children who make up spelling eventually become better spellers than those who are focused only on correct spelling from the start.

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