Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Little Writing Inspiration from Harold and the Purple Crayon

So earlier in the week I shared some tips to help you raise a writer in a post titled, How to Aid Your Child's Development of Writing Skills: The Often Forgotten Half of the Literacy Equation 

I am as guilty as anyone though for forgetting (or at least focusing much less on) writing.  We read, read, read all the time, but literacy involves reading and writing.  Baby bookworm is not NEARLY as enthusiastic about "writing" as she is about reading.  In fact, she's not enthusiastic about it at all.  I usually get one little scribble followed by an "I can't do it."


I can now sympathize with parents who say they can't get their children interested in reading.

I think baby bookworm's main frustration is that she knows her letters and numbers, and at 25 months she can name just about every picture in any book I point to.  But, she can't make her crayon strokes look like she knows they are supposed to look; she's knows her scribbles aren't a letter A, and she knows they look nothing like that house she wanted to draw.  So she gives up and says "You do it, or that's not an A!" 

But I've been on a mission to change her reluctance, and reading Your Child's Writing Life has helped educate me with methods for helping her literacy journey.

Today I'm sharing a lesson that we did this week that I think was a success.  

1). First we read Harold and the Purple Crayon.  (We checked it out at the library and read through it a bunch of times before attempting our writing activity)

2). Then I asked her questions about the story (great for assessing comprehension).  We talked about what happened at the beginning of the story.  I asked her to draw about it with a purple crayon just like Harold.

I divided our paper into three sections to talk about
beginning middle and end.
She drew a path like Harold does at the beginning
of the story; I labeled it

3). Then we talked about the middle of the story.

She wanted to draw a moon which isn't exactly the middle of the story but...
 she got a little frustrated, too.  I ended up helping out!

4). Then we talked about the end of the book where Harold goes to bed.

Once we finished up talking about Harold and our story, we flipped our paper over and I drew a picture.  Then I asked baby bookworm to come up with a story about what I drew.  I wrote out our story as she described it. She liked this activity VERY much - and had I begun with this one first, I think our Harold activity would have been more successful.

Baby bookworm describing the story

And.......much MUCH to my surprise, this is what I caught baby bookworm drawing all by herself (without even being asked) later in the day.  This is the most elaborate thing she has ever "written".

She told me it was a "thinking hippo" - OK! whatever you say, but I LOVE it!
So, I think something clicked.  I'm hoping this is a step in the write (pun intended) direction. ha ha.

Here is some other writing info:
Writing involves the use of a child's fine motor skills.  Babies and toddlers will generally hold a writing utensil with their entire fist and between the ages of 3 - 5 a child will start to hold a writing utensil with a thumb and forefinger.

What does writing "look like" with babies and toddlers?  Here is a simplified developmental continuum of writing.

  • a baby may try to make a few little marks on a paper
  • a young toddler may make random scribbles
  • an older toddler may actually be able to draw some shapes and lines
  • by about 3 years, a child's writing can sometimes take letter-like form
Babies and toddlers also show an understanding of the purpose of writing by showing interest when others write, experimenting with different writing utensils, and verbally labeling what they have written ("that's a dog").

Tell me about your writing journey!!!  How do you inspire your child to write?  Any great writing activities you have tried?  Does your child enjoy reading or writing more?

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