Give Them the Tools
The most important way you can help your child develop their writing is by giving them a pencil, paper, crayons and a place to write. Keep their supplies in a special basket or spot so they can grab what they need whenever the mood to write strikes them!
Ask your child to draw a picture. Have your child describe their drawing.
Keep a Journal
Give your child a notebook that is just for them. Show them how to keep a journal by writing the date at the top of the page. Then make it their choice: Is this a nature journal where they can write about cool things they’ve explored and learned outside? Or is this a feelings journal, where they can write about what’s happened to them that day? Or a Minecraft journal? Try a Question-a-day journal, such as this one. Let them decide!
A Moment to Remember
Did something happen that left your family laughing until they cried? Did your child discover something exciting, like a bird’s nest? Or did your child endure a very annoying situation, like the time they broke their arm?
Children will learn that their life is worth writing about and that these everyday moments are what the best stories are made from. Have your child describe what happened and record it into a story.
Create a Personal Dictionary
Take seven sheets of blank copy paper and fold them in half, stapling the fold to create a book. On the cover have them write “My Dictionary”. Show your child how to write one letter of the alphabet on the top of each page. Keep this at home so they can write their new sight words in it each week or words they ask you to spell. Encourage them to draw a small picture to help remind them what the word means. For example, If the word is “two” have them draw two tiny hearts on the tips of the w to remind them it means the number 2. This is an empowering technique for children to take ownership of learning and using new words.
Create a List
Have your child create a short grocery list for you to use at the store. Or have your child create a “to do” list for the morning. For example: Wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed. They can use words or pictures. Try having them write five chores for the week. They’ll feel responsible and see that their writing can be a great motivation for their day.
Be a Label Maker
Children delight in creating labels for objects around the house. Help them write and spell signs for doors such as the bathroom, the closet, and the chair. They won’t leave these labels on forever, but it’s a fun way for them to learn new words and develop phonics skills.
Put their writing on the refrigerator or tape it to the wall to show how proud you are. Ask your child to reread their writing so you can listen. When children make the connection that their writing is meaningful, they’ll be excited to write more.
Write a Short Book
1st graders love to talk about what they know! Have them make a small book of a few folded pieces of paper and write or draw about something they like. Fold two or three pieces of paper in half and ask them to draw a picture on the cover. Help them spell a one word title, like “Dinosaurs”. Let them write a story or just write a dinosaur fact on each page with a drawing. Tell them that they’re an author of a real book!