How can I encourage my child to write?

How can I encourage my child to write?

Lind78 writes, 'My 6 year old loves reading but hates writing. How can I encourage her to write?'

Writing’s a very different activity from reading. As well as meaning and content, when we’re writing we have to think about presentation (letter formation, handwriting), layout, spelling, punctuation and audience. It takes practice just to hold the pen or pencil comfortably! If she’s a good reader she’s probably aware of some, if not all, of these things and that can be quite daunting.

The mechanics of writing and fine motor skills.

Montessori nursery schools spend a lot of time on developing a child’s coordination which will help children control letter formation and handwriting later on. Montessori teachers do this by showing children to polish and sweep. Painting, drawing and colouring in also help children gain control of tools to help write.

If a child doesn’t like writing with a pen or pencil, see if she’d like to write using a different medium e.g. chalks, finger painting, magnetic letters or words, try typing. My daughter loves writing on my whiteboard and playing teacher, which brings us on to meaning and content.

In the real world we have a reason to write. Just demanding that a child writes is not purpose enough (though I'm not suggesting that this is what you're doing). You could try doing some activities that include a little writing and a lot of purpose: lay treasure trails for each other (see reading treasure hunts), write shopping lists before going to the shops, make your own comic strips, get relatives to send cards and postcards to your child which she can reply to, try writing a diary together. If your child loves reading, try getting her to record her reading in a book journal.

Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation, these can develop later. I know they’re writing in UK schools by 6 but it’s still very young in comparison to other countries.

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