Teacher's Guide / Writing Skills
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In order for a child to write meaningfully, he or she must first build up their fine motor skills. The art area, play dough, sand and water, manipulative area and writing center are excellent areas for practicing fine motor skills.
The skills along the path to writing are:
  1. Scribbling with crayons
    • Put plenty of paper and writing materials in your art and writing centers
    • Place paper pads and pencils throughout the room
    • Encourage all efforts to write
    • Keep work samples in the portfolio and encourage the child to look at and talk about their work
  2. Making circles and other basic shapes
    • Again, put plenty of paper and writing materials around the room
    • Point out shapes in the room
    • Have stencils available
    • Discuss the child's work with him/her
    • Keep work samples in the portfolio and encourage the child to look at and talk about their work
  3. Gaining more control of small muscles
    • Squeezing activities.
      Moving water from bowl to bowl with a sponge
      Play dough.
      Squeezing a small ball or bean bag
    • Pinching activities.
      Moving water with an eye dropper
      Using tweezers to move beads from one dish to another
      Making collages
    • Cutting activities
      Cutting pictures from magazines
      Cutting play dough
      Cutting plain paper or lined paper
      Cutting collage pieces
    • Lacing and stringing
      Lacing cards, shoes
      Stringing beads, macaroni, blocks
    • Tracing activities
      Lines on a page
      The path to help Goldilocks find her way home
      Mazes
    • Using shaving cream and finger paint
  4. Makes representational drawings
    • Encourage all efforts
    • Ask the child about his/her work
    • Keep work samples in the portfolio and encourage the child to look at and talk about their work
    • Post art in the room
    • Share information with parents and encourage them to let the child draw at home and to ask the child about his/her work
  5. Beginning to recognize letters.
    • Write your child's name on a card so they can look at it often.
    • Find the letters in their name in other words.
    • Encourage your child pick out letters they know.
    • Talk about the letters in your child's name.
    • Point out and talk about capital and lower case letters.
    • Play letter lotto (a Bingo type game using letters).
  6. Begins to recognize letters
    • Post environmental print
    • Label all materials in the room
    • Have name cards available
    • Encourage parents to let the child pick out letters at home
    • Work one-to-one finding and naming letters with the child who shows interest
    • Talk about the letters in the child's name
    • Play letter lotto
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Visit the Alphabet Soup Cafe. in our Fun with Letters area to learn the shapes and sounds of letters.
  7. Begins to recognize written names and some words
    • Work one-to-one with the child on picking out known words
    • Together, notice similarities and differences in words
    • Make a word box
    • Encourage all efforts
  8. Realizes the permanency of words (r-u-n always spells run)
    • Post dictation and reread it
    • Read familiar books with only one or two lines on a page
    • Notice word labels in the room; read them to reinforce their permanency
    • Use a first dictionary in your writing center
  9. Begins to imitate letters
    • Provide a well-stocked writing center
    • Have word and picture cards on hand
    • Have letter cards and stencils on hand
    • Encourage letter writing in the journal
    • Make shoe strings into letters with the child
    • Use play dough to make letters
    • Encourage writing their name on their work themselves
    • Provide sand and sandpaper for letter tracing
    • Provide chalk and a chalkboard
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Demonstrate making letters with Spinner the Writing Spider.
  10. Writes name
    • Do not worry if the letters are out of order or backwards
    • Model writing their name on their work and encourage them to copy it
    • When they say they can write their name alone - let them
    • Encourage all efforts
    • Provide a well-stocked writing center
  11. Writes other words
    • Encourage journal writing
    • Have area cards ready for them to copy (art area, etc.)
    • Be ready to write words for them to copy when they ask you
    • Encourage their parent to show pride in their efforts
    • Have sets of all the children's names in the art, writing, and manipulative areas so they can copy them, sort them, look for differences and similarities
    • Write stories with the children and place them in the library and learning areas.
    • Write down stories the children tell you and reread them often. ONLINE ACTIVITY: Our Young Writers Workshop provides over thirty illustrated story starters and helpful instructions.More can be purchased and downloaded through our Download Store.
  12. Improves through practice and positive feedback
    • Encourage children to write letters to family members, thank you notes, notes to their favorite character in a book
    • facilitate their writing rhymes
    • let them make their own signs
    • have them write reminder notes to you about anything they want you to remember
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1998, 2005, 2015 Susan Jindrich. All rights reserved. Revised 8/19/2015