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Pre-Writing Games For 5's and 6's


Q. Our kindergartner is so eager to learn to write! He's just about to get beyond writing his own name. We want him to feel happy and confident about writing so that he launches right into it. What are some things we can be doing with him to get him ready?


Sounds like you have a wonderful home in which to be a kid!


Here are some games and activities you might try:


Rhyme Time. Give your child a love for the sound of words by playing around a lot with rhyming as you go about your daily life. Demonstrate how easy it is to rhyme words, and take turns. Let's say you're matching socks with your child. While you're matching socks, work together to match pairs of words, too. Say: "See this sock? It'll hold a rock." And your child might say: "I'll put this sock on the clock." Or at dinnertime: "Eat your dinner, or you'll be thinner." Rhyming is probably the best way to give your child phonemic awareness - a recognition of, and appreciation for, the sounds the alphabetic letters make in forming words. That recognition and appreciation translates into a love for language overall, which is crucial for good writing.


Song Lyric Parodies. Another great tool for building awareness about the sounds in words is singing. Children who sing a lot tend to be the best readers. There's a lot going on in that young brain when a child sings: remembering the words, how long to hold each note, how the melody sounds, and making sure to keep on the correct pitch. So make it even more fun by encouraging your child to substitute words here and there while singing familiar tunes: "Mary Had a Little Meatball," "Row, Row, Row Your Hoe," "Happy Dirt Day to You," and other silly lyrics will build your child's imagination and love of language.


Copycat. Once your child can write alphabet letters fairly well, Mom or Dad can write short words that are meaningful to the child, and the child can copy them. Start with the child's name and the names of your family and familiar household objects. Progress to short sentences and questions. Show your child how and when to use capital letters, and how and when to use lower case. Point out proper spacing between words and proper punctuation and so forth, but don't preach. Keep the tone light and the copying fun, in just two or three 10-minute sessions each week.


Boss and Secretary. In the days before computers, business executives used to "dictate" letters to secretaries, who would then type them for the boss' signature. When a child can write words fairly fluently - without a lot of fuss or taking very long - he or she is ready to "take dictation" from you. It's important for helping the child form a mental picture of the order the letters should take in each words, and gradually be able to write them rapidly and accurately. For fun, you can lean back in a chair, put your feet on the table or desk, and pretend to be smoking a cigar like a big boss (for heaven's sake, use a straw or a carrot in these days of environmental friendliness!). If you can dictate words and sentences that have something to do with playtime or toys, it'll make it more fun and more meaningful for your child. For instance, you could dictate, "I love my Furby," and then help your child sound out the proper spelling of Furby if necessary. Of course, the child should "deliver" that memo to the Furby and return for the next one, just to make the game complete.

Homework: Still more fun ideas:



By Susan Darst Williams Writing 17 2008




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