Writing at home often for a variety of reasons helps children appreciate the usefulness and practicality of writing. Some suggestions: your child can add products to your grocery list, write down on a large whiteboard where he is going when he leaves the house, make a simple list of what he wants to do the next day, write down a memory of the day. Look for short, practical writing opportunities that do not involve sitting down for a half hour or longer.
The examples above involve using repetitive words, so your child can also build vocabulary and spelling skills. For the grocery list, you can make a list of the products and food items you buy regularly and print it out using a large font. Your child can use the list to locate and then copy an item onto this week’s grocery list.
A large, magnetic white board can be used for all your family happenings. Hang it in a family gathering place like the kitchen or the hall. Make sure it’s big, and have plenty of colorful chalk or markers handy. When your child goes outside to play, she can write it on the board. She’ll be using many repetitive words, like, I am going to play with Maria; I am going to play in the backyard; I am going to my art class, etc. She can even add the time to practice clock skills.Other family members can write on this board as well. It’s great for kids to see their parents do the same thing they do. It lets them know writing is valued. If a parent leaves early to go to work, the white board can be a nice place to leave a short, special note. For kids, reading a nice message from a parent beats reading Dr. Seuss any day!
Besides being practical, writing can be for fun, too. For example, hide things and write each other clues to find them, or use written clues for a scavenger hunt. Your child can draw and label a map of your backyard or her bedroom. As you can see, there is no reason for kids to get the idea that all writing involves sitting down for long periods of time. Writing standing up and on the fly is an excellent way for kids to practice writing. It’s fun, it keeps the blood circulating and the brain active and aware. Before you know it, you’ll have a confident writer who views writing as normal as getting dressed every day.