The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Writing and reading go hand-in-hand. When children can read, they begin to explore their world through words. When they learn to write, they begin a creative expression. Writing is a critical component in childhood learning, and children will be required to write in different styles and genres. Children will begin to think of themselves as writers as they put words on paper following their teacher’s instruction.
Parents can help young children learn the importance of writing by making it fun and letting them know that there is so much more than just putting pencil to paper.
Helping Early Learners Love to Write
- Tell a Story. Children love to hear to stories because they realize they have a voice. Through written words, they learn that everyone has a story to tell. Children are natural storytellers. When they recount their own stories, they often recount the richness of their own day. Children learn the creative process of writing when they tell their own stories and hear stories from their teachers.
- Drawing. Young learners can also learn to write when they tell stories through their drawings. Pictures are a child’s way of telling stories because the illustrations and drawings can have meaning attached to them. Children relate to the world through their drawings. Parents can be involved with their children’s drawings, and hence writings, by having them tell the stories of what they see on paper – to explain their drawings.
- Read Great Authors. Introducing children to authors of great stories is a way to help them understand structured writing in a way that tells the story they have in their head, on paper. Children can learn writing techniques by reading texts from someone they admire. Educators use “mentor texts” to model what good writing can look like. The more children make connections between their own stories and drawings into the written word, the more they begin to think of themselves as authors. Once children see themselves as authors, they will love the time they spend writing.
- Write Often. The process of writing is the most important. This simply means allowing children the time and space to write and draw, plus stocking them supplies to help when their juices are flowing. When they’re inspired to tell a story, being provided tools like pencils, pens, crayons and sketchbooks can help move the process of writing along. They need to be able to draw, write, and sketch out ideas freely, even if it is just checklists and jottings. Giving children the tools to write, including time and space, allows children to develop into imaginative writers.
One of the greatest gifts a child can have is the understanding that he or she is a great writer and has something to share with others through writing. Children who are immersed in their ideas on a daily basis will come to view themselves as writers and authors, thus impacting their desire to write more. Writing is an invaluable piece of a child’s education, which will impact his or her literacy for years to come.
Beverly Birmingham is the Assistant Head of Lower School at Trinity Christian Academy. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and a Masters in Education from Liberty University. She has worked in education for many years as a teacher and administrator in various school settings in the US and internationally.