Preschool and Kindergarten: Becoming Writers

Whether they are learning at school or at home, young children love to write.

You don’t know my kid. He hates it. She just scribbles. He runs away when he sees a pencil. She screams when I say, “Let’s write.”

Maybe I’m being a little much here. Too dramatic?

But I know that some children have convinced their parents that they “can’t” write, or that they don’t enjoy it. Maybe their parents don’t enjoy it, either.

There is no such person as one who does not like to write. There are simply people who have not found what to write about yet.

If you are at home, guiding your preschool or kindergarten child through the end of the school year, and you want them to have better handwriting, better pencil grip, and more opportunities to sound out words, organize language, and record their thoughts to paper, then you should let them write. Just write.

Forget about perfection, and focus on progress.

Worry less over grammar, and focus more on grip–pencil grip, that is.

Instead of fostering caution in word choice, foster creativity.

And, perhaps the most curious of all (unless you’re an early childhood educator), stress LESS over conventional spelling, and stress SOUNDS more! What I mean is, when your child asks you, “How do I spell__________?” and believe me, they will—hold back from spelling the word for them. Ask them what SOUNDS they hear in the word and let them spell the word phonetically for now, resting assured that they will learn correct spelling patterns in first and second grades, when their writing brains are ready for those spelling patterns.

What are some ways that writing can be slipped into your home-learning routines right now?

1. Make lists. Of everything. List your family members, days of the week, months of the year, favorite foods, movies you like, songs you can sing.

2. Write stories about your life. Children are really good at telling others their personal experiences. They love to write about who they played with, or a new toy they received, or what they ate for dinner.

3. Write your opinion. It may sound fancy, but opinion writing for young children is as simple as writing, “I like ________________. I like it because_____________.”

4. Write true facts. Maybe your child loves frogs. Let him or her write several sentences telling all they know about frogs. This informational writing is a good way to see how much they learned from your recent science experiment or social studies chat.

5. Write real-life things. Whether we realize it or not, we write all the time. Let your child pretend to be a teacher and write lessons on the board; a police officer and write “tickets” for traffic offenders; a doctor and write a patient’s chart/diagnosis; a waiter and write customer’s orders…I could go on and on!

If your preschool child is not writing letters yet, don’t wait for her to go to school before you put a pencil in her hand. Give her one now and let her scribble, scribble, scribble. Let her “write” with a pen or marker. Have him create the above-mentioned things, even if it just looks like marks on a paper. He will learn that people put words on paper, and words and writing have meaning.

When your children come to the realization that what they put on paper has influence and meaning, it is a powerful moment. Their journey as an author has begun!






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