Research supports what successful parents and teachers do.
By J. Richard Gentry, PhD, and Steve Peha
Original Source: Psychology Today
Most parents read stories to their kids. But how many parents write them? It’s not hard. Invite your child to write with you. Grab some paper and something to write with. And then make up a little story, writing it down, page by page as you go. Keep the stories simple. Make a sketch to illustrate each page or have your child do the illustration. Try to make stories that look like the ones you read with your child in easy books. Kids love Mom-or-Dad-When-They-Were-Kids stories or When-You-Were-A-Baby stories.
Another way to engage your child is in shared story creation where both of you contribute simultaneously. As you create the story together you serve as a model of how exactly to go about it. Over time in this gradual release learning model—I do it; we do it; you do it—your child will be writing stories on his or her own.
Our lives are full of lists: “to do” lists, shopping lists, lists of people, list of favorite things, etc. Many of these lists are things we write down. List writing is pretty easy. So it’s often one of the first forms of writing kids can be involved in.
The next time you make a grocery list, ask your child to help you with it. Even if you do all the writing, they’ll feel included in the process. Gradually, they’ll want to do it, too. Don’t be surprised when one day they present you with their own list of things they’d like you pick up at the store.
Revive a Long Lost Tradition
Kids love to get gifts. But the tradition of “Thank You” notes seems to have fallen by the wayside. Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an uncle or an aunt, a child’s thank you note—dictated or written in their own hand—is a treasure.
Three reasons for using this technique as a motivator for writing and reading are that it teaches kids cultural values, social interaction, and it’s a wonderful way for kids to write to a real audience. From a teaching and cognitive perspective there’s the added value of repetition: many of the notes use the same words (like “thank you” or “I like the _______ you sent me,” and so on).
Map It Out
Draw—Label—Caption writing is a simple form that can be used by preschoolers. In the following variation taken from a case study in Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write: From Baby to Age 7, Danielle, (four years, eight months of age) drew a map of the aisles in the Publix grocery store and put in labels to show where here favorite foods could be found.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Repetition is not a single activity, but a reminder that you should write and read with your child every day. Your child is often motivated to mimic and repeat what you do even without any prompting. Repetition is its own built-in motivator. When you do fun and engaging side-by-side writing and reading activities over time your beginner reorganizes and integrates new information such as higher-order print concepts and piles on new knowledge about sounds, letters, and literacy. Reading aloud is crucial. But don’t forget that among 3- to 6-year-olds, pencil and paper kids are often the first readers.
Posted October 10, 2013
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