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Write Before your Child’s Eyes

Children learn about writing by observing people who already know how and by participating with those people in simple writing experiences. Parents and older siblings serve as models for children, showing them what writers do.

Children are more likely to want to communicate in writing if they grow up in a home where they often see people writing. The more they see you writing, the more inclined they are to want to write.

As children begin “writing,” they may use drawing, scribbling, or invented letters and spelling to express themselves. These are legitimate forms of early writing and should be encouraged!

Share your writing tasks with children. For example, include your child when you write out the weekly grocery list or jot down a reminder to yourself or another family member. Encourage your child to help with writing party invitations, thank-you notes, and cards or letters to relatives and friends.

When you have writing tasks to do – even something as humdrum as your to-do list – try to get in the habit of doing them when your child is around. Before you know it, you’ll have an eager writer on your hands.

Deborah Diffily, National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996