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Teaching Your Child to Write

Writing is the other half of reading. Once children learn to symbols (letters and number) have meaning, they become interested in representing those symbols in writing. Like reading, learning to write is a process that begins by understanding the function of writing – why adults do it

During toddler-hood, your child’s writing skills will be limited to scribbling and making marks on paper with a variety of writing implements – crayons, markers, pencil, chalk, and so on. To encourage writing skills, let your child write when you write.


For example, when you make a grocery list, give your child a piece of scrap paper and nontoxic marker and have him or her make a list. Or, when you sit down to pay the bills, give your child some pretend check to write or pretend bills to pay right along with you. (Junk mail works well for this!). Whenever you use your writing skills, set your child up to use his or hers with you.


Expect your child’s writing to be illegible well into the fourth year. Then, you will begin to see the letters of their names and drawings that you can recognize. Rather than focusing on whether you can read your child’s writing, ask your child to tell you what it says. Remember, functional writing – applying meaning to symbols - is what is important in early writing. As long as your child thinks his or her marks have meaning, the process of learning to write is right on track!

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