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Grammar Granny        < Previous        Next >

 

Prewriting Activities For 3's, 4's and 5's

 

The time to start teaching a child to write is long before the child is actually old enough. Here are some ideas for "prewriting" - setting up experiences for preschoolers in which they can work on the many subskills of writing and have fun, too.

 

Mini field trips: A walk through your yard, a park, your street, a room in your house, a playground, Grandma's house - anywhere - can be a great opportunity for observing, thinking, questioning and recording. Before you go, staple paper together into a book. You could put the book on a clipboard so that your child can write as you go, or wait 'til you get home. On each page, ask your child to draw a picture of an object or scene from that "field trip." Afterwards, you can ask him what it is, take a pencil and write down a word to label his drawing as he watches, and then he can copy what you wrote underneath. Use upper and lower case letters.

 

Art and sewing projects: help with fine-motor coordination and eye-hand skills.

 

I Spy: your child watches your pet in the back yard, shoppers at the grocery store, people walking by your home, the postal carrier going down the street, bugs in the grass -- whatever. Your daughter can "dictate" to you what she sees, and you write it down. Gradually, she can begin to write down the "detective" notes for herself.

 

Funny poems: nothing, but nothing, works as well as humor. So start an index file for your child. Write a funny poem on each index card. "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream / Throw your teacher overboard and listen to her scream." "I see London / I see France / I see _______'s underpants!" As your child grows, he or she can start writing funny poems down on index cards to add to this file.

 

Travel log: give your child a spiral notebook to draw pictures and practice writing words while you're on vacation. Your child may enjoy dictating words, sentences and stories to you. You can tape photos from your trip in place and your child can dictate descriptive captions, a good opportunity to practice observational skills. Years from now, this notebook will be a cherished keepsake.

 

Book of favorite words: it's wonderful to cultivate a love for language in your child. Most children have several words that they just love to say. Often, it's a humorous word such as "underwear." You can help your child record these "fun" words and draw pictures to illustrate the words. The more meaningful a word is to a child, the more likely he is to remember it.

 

Magnet alphabet letters on the fridge: these are a staple of childhood, and they really work to familiarize a child with the alphabet and numbers. Remember, children learn best through relaxed play. Later, you can replace the alphabet letters with entire words, magnetized.

 

Family story: as you are driving, each family member adds a sentence to a story. You can keep this totally oral, or record it in your child's writing notebook for future reference. In between car trips, everyone can be thinking of where they want the story to go next time.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.GoBigEd.com Grammar Granny 045 2007

 

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