Creativity is the central element that sets humans apart from other forms of life on earth. — Dr. Kenneth Robinson

One of the most important jobs of parents as a summer teacher is to create an environment that nurtures creativity, innovation, perseverance and true grit without the restrictions of time and scheduling that the school year provides. Children should be free to explore their environment within secure boundaries and that is within their own family.

By writing their thoughts and memories down, children will remember and be able to recall them later as they are asked to write for assignments in school.

Some basics first:

Pencil grip: Watch your young children as they pick up their pencils and crayons. They should hold their pencil between their thumb and index finger with it resting on their third finger and the other fingers slightly bent supporting the third finger. The pencil should be held high enough so they can see the sharpened area of the pencil. They don’t hold their writing instruments in a fist or in another awkward position that makes it uncomfortable to write.

Provide an attractive notebook or paper that encourages your children to want to write. Young children can write just a sentence about their day and maybe even draw a picture. If you need to, you can write for them, demonstrating how to hold your pencil or pen properly.

Encourage your young children to always pull down to make their letters, not begin the letters from the bottom up. You may need to provide a model for them to copy or write a word for them they want to use. Again, take your time and let them see how you form the letters.

Children should grow in creativity and be able to use it in their writing. Writing their reaction or thoughts to activities they participate in this summer and/or recording their actions in a journal or diary keeps their spelling and vocabulary as useful learning tools. Children can write reminder notes for you and themselves. Writing notes to send to friends and cousins brings joy to both the sender and the receiver.

Besides, handwriting is good for their developing brains. Handwriting helps children focus and uses both their left and right brain. It calms and centers their mind and builds their literacy skills as they write down and react to books they are reading this summer. By writing them down, they may discover a favorite author. They may not agree with the ending of the books they are reading. Using their writing ability, they can predict or change the ending to one more satisfactory for them. They might even write a play based on a book.

Writing down non-fiction books they read leads them to other books on the same subject for them to learn more or compare the information they need to grow their knowledge of a subject that interests them.

Handwriting is a valuable skill for children and should be grown along with keyboarding skills.

Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at bettemroz@gmail.com

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