How Parents can Support their Child to Write
Children learn to love reading and writing by observing their parents and caregivers at home. Parents are the child’s first and most important educator. It is on a parent’s lap that children first build a love affair with words and ideas contained in text. Strong literacy growth happens when families take the time to read, talk, think and write about ideas. This modeling gives the child all the tools they need to be literate in first language and English. So make sure that your child sees that you value writing for different audiences and purposes.
Children can only write what they can say. Having rich conversations about experiences, activities and ideas builds confidence in recording words and ideas to be read by someone else. Listen carefully to what they say. Use the child’s words to suggest the best vocabulary, phrasing and sentence structure. This makes it easier for the ideas to be written down quickly and efficiently.
Writing and reading regularly across a range of text types improves vocabulary, grammar, concepts and sentence structure. The rich variety of texts that learners engage with shows them there are many different, complex and exciting ways to communicate ideas with images, words and ideas. Take time to talk about the words and ideas contained in different text and how they help the reader to make meaning. Exposure to different ways of using words and a variety of sentence structures provides expert models for writing and creating new texts.
Model your love of writing with all kinds of texts. Write lists, letters, love notes, reminders, descriptions, social media posts, stories, reports and instructions. Have fun with writing – using the best vocabulary and grammar you can! Let your child see that you enjoy creating texts to be read by someone else. Constructing meaning with words and sentences is improved by sharing your love of words and ideas in different types of text. Talk about what you have written, what you are thinking about and what you are noticing in the text you are creating! Make writing time an exciting part of every day!
Share the writing process. Talk with your child about the ideas you – or they - would like to convey through their text. They contribute the ideas and you do the physical writing. Start writing very simple sentences and then challenge them to write more elaborate sentences and paragraphs. Encourage the child to write what they are thinking and saying.
Do not expect perfection with handwriting, spelling or grammar. Writing the perfect sentence is developmental. - so look beyond the mistakes and respond to the ideas they have written. Once they have some text to work with, re-read it out loud and talk about how the idea could be improved and revised.
Read the writing back to the child to check it makes sense, looks right and sounds right. Fixing it up as you go is a fun way to edit, revise and improve the quality of the writing. Just give it a try!
Expose your child to multiple forms of writing. Not all children love to write stories. Many children prefer to write informational texts or recounts of recent experiences. Write widely with them so they become confident communicators of ideas using different text forms and structures. Blogs, letters, reviews and reports are great forms for expression. Reading and responding positively to the ideas of their constructed texts will build confidence and writing success.
Read as much as you can- whenever you can - with your child. This improves knowledge, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and confidence in expressing ideas. Show your child all the different ways to communicate ideas through text and delight in their writing. Responding positive to the content of words and ideas is the purpose of writing!