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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Activities to do at home to enhance writing skills

Parents can help their child develop good writing skills at home. Sports, games, and everyday activities help children improve many of the skills involved in handwriting. Activities like cutting, cooking, baking or crafting are helpful in development of hand eye-coordination skill. The more opportunities your child has to develop large and small movement in their arms, hands and fingers, the better.

Educational technology advances suggest that reading and writing development are intertwined in early learning. The relationship between reading and writing continues long after these early efforts, so parents can enhance their child's skills dramatically by encouraging the writing habit in childhood.

Few activities to do at home to enhance writing skills:

You can help your child by: doing activities like
  • Digging,
  • ‘Painting’ outdoor surfaces with water and a large brush,
  • Sweeping and swishing a scarf through the air in different shapes hanging out the washing,
  • Use a peg board and picking up grains of rice with fingers (which helps develop the grip needed for writing)
  • Make marks on paper with fingers, brushes and crayons              
  • Write labels, birthday cards and invitations
  • Rolling playdough and doing fingerplays help children strengthen and improve the coordination of the small muscles in their hands and fingers. They use these muscles to control writing tools such as crayons, markers, and brushes.
To improve visual memory, teach card games, marbles and jacks, and engage in hand sports- using large then smaller balls. Use dictation or a computer for homework assignments when a child's poor muscle strength and low endurance cannot sustain written work despite high intelligence. Encourage letter writing to family and friends.
Parents can engage their children in fun, practical activities that improve writing skills.

Some suggestions from Roy Peter Clark's book, "Free to Write":

Interviews. Encourage children to ask family members about life experiences, take notes and write short articles or stories based on what they learn. This can be especially fun if they ask a grandparent about a historical anniversary or an activity that is no longer common, like listening to radio shows.
Journals. Buy your child a special notebook to write in. Encourage him to write about daily activities, important life events, feelings and other personal topics.
Television. Turn watching television into an educational activity by asking children to write about a program they've seen. They can retell the show's story, or better yet, explore the values and meanings it expressed. Reading. Read aloud to your children. This will improve their writing by exposing them to well-written sentences and well-expressed ideas.
Proud displays. Have a place in your home where you display your children's writing. This will build their confidence and encourage them to write more often.
Dictation. Encouraging very young children to generate ideas and think in complete sentences. This will help prepare them to write alone when they get older. Encourage children to dictate stories and ideas to you, and keep them so they can read them later.

Useful links:

Helping Children Develop Fine Motor Skills

* Adventures in writing-how you can help her develop this new skill with confidence.

* Help Your Child Learn Writing Skills
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