Our children learn through writing. From their curiosity with crayons, markers and pencils as very young children, children become aware that their squiggles and marks can become letters, then words to help them read and learn.
Young learners love to compose their own stories as they explore putting sounds with letters to share their imaginative ideas and creative thought. Knowing many words helps them put their thoughts on paper more easily. Reading enhances their writing. Writing skill is also a predictor of success in school.
Children learn they can use writing as a tool to learn, to think on paper. The more they write, the more they find that writing is a valuable tool to help them communicate, to share knowledge, to support comprehension and learning, and to explore feelings and beliefs. (Joan Sedita)
The more they write, the better they get at writing and reading. Writing to learn means writing to think. (Syrene Forsman) They can use writing to develop more active thinking, exploration and explaining their ideas to others. Older children come to learn, understand and remember what they do not yet know.
Writing helps children learn to be communicators. They need to learn how to organize their ideas and articulate them to others. Learning the steps of the writing process aids them in organizing their thoughts.
Learning spelling, handwriting/keyboarding and proper punctuation are the transcription tools they need to further develop their writing skill.
Children understand and retain better when they handwrite about what they want or need to learn. By handwriting, they activate different areas of the brain that help them keep and connect prior learning to the new things they need to learn.
It is important that parents help their children know how to cursive write, which may be a faster method for children to get their ideas on paper. Although keyboarding is a modern way to write, handwriting is still the best way to retain information.
If, as parents, we can learn ways to make writing fun, we can help children develop fluency and confidence in their ability to write. For young children, parents can help write meaningful words, lists of groceries or things they want, even words that describe how they feel.
Encourage older children to keep journals, learning logs, plan their projects, copy or writing recipes, write letters, writing to predict how things will turn out or to ask questions about things they hear or want to know more about. Children should not be afraid to communicate their feelings or questions to parents or adults they trust. Writing might be easier than talking.
Using index cards, notebooks or blogs on the computer, children can learn to write their doubts, fears, beliefs and questions to ask to get the right information.
Parents might have their children write about their day’s activities or items they might like to discuss during their evening meal together. Writing down ideas will help even parents to remember.
Parents should use every opportunity they can to encourage their children to write.
In the August 26 Supporting Super Students column, “A Happy Meal for Your Family,” the website for Alisha is yourkidstable.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org