Reading and writing go hand in hand. If a child is able to develop motor skills, has access to plenty of books and can scribble as soon as they can hold a large crayon, they are on their way to reading readiness.
When I talk about writing with teens, new adults and adults, I hear fear. “Why aren’t they teaching kids to write anymore?” or “Will we need to write with pencils anymore in a few years?” are common queries.
As a Children’s & Teen Librarian, I do not hold all the answers – but I know that caring adults are a child’s first teacher. Offering a child the opportunity to develop the fine motor skills they will need to hold a writing instrument begins in the world of nursery rhymes. Remember the Itsy Bitsy Spider? That spider is developing fine motor skills! Remember the Hokey Pokey? Gross motor skills are shining in that tune. Building vocabulary around shapes – circles, squares and triangles – will allow your child to have the building blocks of most letters in the Roman alphabet!
Opportunities to improve writing and reading readiness are all around you – take advantage of a few today.
- Scribbling leads to drawing basic images and later, letters and numbers. This is part of reading readiness and identity development.
- If children are aware of letters, they will begin to know that letters join to form words.
- Scribbling and drawing promotes hand eye coordination.
- As soon as your child can hold a large crayon, provide paper and plenty of opportunities to explore scribbling.
- Ask questions about what your child is drawing.
- Encourage your child to sign their name on their drawings. Label vocabulary words on the page or with Post-Its.
Writing is one of five activities you can incorporate into your daily routine to help your child get ready to read. These activities are part of an initiative called Every Child Ready to Read that is rooted in public libraries as cornerstones of early literacy in communities.
Angela is a Children’s & Teen Librarian at CLP – Squirrel Hill. She is an extremely slow reader and bicyclist, but really loves both.
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