Early Writing Experiences Jana Crosby, Reading Specialist Read to Succeed Initiative Alissa Ongie, Preschool Project Coordinator Tennessee State Improvement Grant
Researchers agree that children go through certain developmental stages of writing – these stages may vary in length from child to child. • Development typically spans from 2 or 2 ½ to 5 years of age – from the late toddler stage to the end of the preschool years. (Baghban, 1984; Clay, 1987; Schickendanz, 1990)
Points to Remember: • Reading and writing develop together, not separately. • Models, collaboration, and choices promote writing. • Intentional teaching of writing develops young writers. Karen Bromley, 2000
Stages of Writing • Drawing • Scribbles • Letter-like Forms • Letter Strings • Copying Environmental Print • Invented Spelling • Conventional Spelling
“If children are provided with marking tools, a suitable surface on which to write, and a safe place to play, they begin to make marks at quite an early age.” Judith Schickendanz, 2000
During scribbling, children learn to distinguish writing from drawing. Scribbles start out as random marks and transform to marks with meaning!
Children begin to produce letter-like forms that show some similarity to letters. • Some children will use the lines and shapes that they are observing and learning about letters and make “mock letters” during this stage.
As children learn the names and shapes of letters, they begin to produce letter strings. • Letters from children’s names often begin to emerge during this stage of writing.
Once children are able to form letters, they can look at environmental print (such as food labels or a grocery list) and copy the letters and words.
As children develop they will start to use invented spelling; they may use one letter to represent each word they want to communicate. • Eventually, children move to conventional spelling and writing.
Stages of Writing • Drawing
Stages of Writing • Scribbles
Stages of Writing • Letter-like forms
Stages of Writing • Letter strings (letters reversed)
Stages of Writing • Copying environmental print
Stages of Writing • Invented spelling and conventional spelling (first name)
What kinds of activities do children need to participate in to develop the fine motor skills that will help them “prepare to write”? Object-handling activities that emphasize motor control, precision, and accuracy of movement.
Water play Writing in shaving cream/fun foam Lacing cards Tweezers games Play-dough Scissors Using a hole punch Clay Eyedroppers Pegboards Cotton swabs Sorting games Clothespins Puzzles Paintbrush and water Tearing paper Stringing beads Easel painting Writing with different tools Self-help skills Finger-painting Puppets Chalkboard writing Finger plays Suggested Activities
Stationery Note pads Order forms Receipts Calendars Chalk boards Dry erase boards Theme-shaped paper Post-it notes Unlined paper Variety of paper Clipboard with paper Ready-made books Paper plates Old forms Junk mail Etch-a-sketch Magnadoodle Textured paper Lined paper Things to Write On:
Chubby markers Thin markers Pencils Colored pencils Crayons Ball point pens Chalk Sidewalk chalk Dry erase markers Alphabet stamps Paint Gel pens Things to Write With:
Marker stand Tape Envelopes Writing caddy Ruler Stamps Magnetic letters Ink pad Index cards Stencils Yarn Scissors Wallpaper samples Magazines Catalogs Journals Word cards Sentence strips Accessories and Tools:
Kinds of Writing Activities include: • Journals • Message boards • Letters, cards • Lists • Write the room • Response to literature • Dictation
Journal Writing • Gives children opportunities to practice writing. • Develops the concept that writing has a purpose. • Provides opportunities for self-expression. • Is an activity you can do with your child by keeping your own journal, too.
Message Board • You may use a dry erase board or post-it notes on the refrigerator to leave messages or reminders for other family members. • Let your child help you write the messages and/or write his or her own messages.
Letters & Cards • Technology has led to less communication by handwritten letters. • Revive the lost art of letter-writing by sending letters or cards to family and friends for special events and holidays. • Let your child write a portion of the letter, or at least sign his or her name. • Help your child send thank you notes after receiving presents; it increases literacy and reinforces good manners.
Lists • We write many types of lists on a regular basis, including grocery lists and to-do lists. • Before going to the grocery store, let your child write his or her own list or help you with yours. • During the shopping, let your child be in charge of marking items off the list; this increases literacy and keeps them occupied during grocery shopping.
Write the Room • Give your child a clipboard, paper, and pen or pencil. • Choose a room in the house with a good amount of environmental print (the kitchen has food labels; the living room may have book covers) • Let your child go around the room and write the words that he or she sees.
Response to Literature • After reading aloud to your child, choose a writing activity to respond to the story in some way. • Examples: write a new ending to the story, write a letter to a character in the story, write a list of characters in the story.
Dictation • Dictation is writing down the exact words your child tells you. • Dictated activities: • Demonstrate that what we think/say can be written. • Provide a model for writing. • Encourage children’s use of language. • Values children’s words.
When taking dictation… • Write EXACTLY what your child says. • Remember, we are working on writing, NOT grammar! • Encourage all attempts your child makes. • Ask questions to extend language. • Make sure your child can see you write. • Read the dictation back to your child, following the print with your finger as you read it. • Encourage your child to reread the dictation by themselves, to friends, or to other family members.
SIG Preschool Literacy Toolkit • You are receiving a toolkit from the TN SIG Preschool Literacy Training Project. • The purpose of the toolkit is to provide literacy materials and activities that you and your child can do together. • You can pick up your Preschool Literacy Toolkit when you turn in the workshop survey.
Questions? • Thank you for participating in this parent workshop. • You are your child’s first and most important teacher, and you are well on your way to helping your child become a writer.
References • Bredekamp & Copple 1997. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs revised edition. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. • Morrow, Lesley Mandel 2001. Literacy Development in the Early Years, Helping Children Read and Write. Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon. • National Research Council 1998. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. • National Research Council 1999. Starting Out Right. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. • Neuman, Copple, Bredekamp 2000. Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC.
References • Ranweiler, Linda 2005. Preschool Readers and Writers: Early Literacy Strategies for Teachers. Ypsilanti, Michigan: High/Scope Press. • Schickendanz, Judith and Casbergue, Renee 2004. Writing in Preschool: Learning to Orchestrate Meanings and Marks. Newark, Delaware: IRA. • Shickendanz, Judith 1998. Much More Than the ABCs: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC • Strickland, Dorothy and Morrow, Lesley 2000. Emergent Literacy: Young Children Learn to Read and Write. Newark, Delaware: IRA. • Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education 2002. National Head Start S.T.E.P. Trainer’s Manual. Houston, TX: National Head Start/CIRCLE.