Writing is a crucial skill, especially so in the era of gadgets and swipe screens. How do you build a natural interest in this activity?
Writing in preschool is generally understood as the ability to form letters and then words and sentences. This is only the physical aspect of writing. This becomes possible when children have had plenty of opportunity for gross motor and fine motor movements. Their fingers need to be supple and capable of holding the writing instrument correctly and simultaneously make well-defined movements.
1. Slow down
Rushing children into writing before this readiness has developed, actually slows down the development of writing and makes it a painful task which they shy away from and do under duress. Take it slow and let the child lead.
2. Build other activities around writing
A learning programme which systematically takes children through a variety of activities till they gain the confidence to spontaneously pick up a pencil and write ensures that children become enthusiastic writers. And this is definitely possible.
3. Make it a tool for expression
The other important aspect of writing is expression. Writing presented as a tool for expression makes it very interesting and turns a dull boring task into something purposeful.
4. Build confidence in the language
In order to be able to write spontaneously children need to be confident users of the language. This language development comes as a result of reading and narrating stories, conversing freely during pretend play, and exposure to new experiences which they want to talk about excitedly.
5. Draw, scribble and pretend
Little children’s drawings mostly carry meaning, and prompts usually bring forth long tales to be told! Parents and educators must encourage children to do pretend writing. Making shopping lists for mom, writing prescriptions and taking orders during role play are super fun! These practices help children understand that writing has a purpose and make it a meaningful activity which they enjoy.
For instance, a story can be conveyed by a three-year-old with the help of scribbles (pretend writing) and narrative. The sentences can be the teacher’s annotations. Gradually as the child learns the language, a few letters appear among the make-believe writing, then words accompanied by drawings and finally full sentences. . .a happy journey into the world of writing, with endless possibilities!
*A version of this article originally appeared on Medium*