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Friday, December 3, 2010

Tip of the Month: The Write Stuff

There are many steps along the road of learning to write letters. Children must have many opportunities to use their hands to do various things before they can successfully print letters. Many of the things we do during center time and activity time help your child develop their fine motor skills to help them take those steps towards writing. Here are some ideas of what we do that you can also do at home to help your child develop the skills needed to write:
  1. Modeling with clay
  2. Using small and large Legos
  3. Picking up beads
  4. Playing with knobbed puzzles
  5. Using paper, paper clips, staples, pencils, markers, and crayons
  6. Stencils
  7. Sidewalk chalk
  8. Finger painting or painting with large brushes
Encourage your child to write notes to their friends or messages to other important people in their life. As they are playing dress-up or pretend, encourage them to write props to add to their play: menus, shopping lists, paper money, tickets for a show, signs for shops, etc.

As children experiment, developmental stages of writing become evident. Children move from random scribbles to controlled scribbles, to random alphabet letters, to consonants that represent words. Only with lots of opportunities to practice can children move through these stages.

If your child does not have a proper pencil grip, cannot purposefully manipulate a crayon, or simply shows no interest in learning to write, they probably aren't ready to do so. Take care not to push. Children enjoy learning a new skill only when they are ready for it. Getting ready is just as important as mastering the skill.

Christmas is a great time to stock up on writing material for your child. They make great stocking stuffers and gifts!

- Excerpts taken from Brad Wilcocks

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