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A child holding an alphabet book - she learned her letters while making it!


Writing Teaches Early Literacy!

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Writing—scribbling at first—helps children make the connection between the spoken and printed word.

How Can Writing Develop Early Literacy Skills?

  • As children see print used in their daily lives, they begin to recognize that those printed letters stand for spoken words.

  • Writing helps children learn the purpose of reading – that printed letters can communicate information.

  • Children who scribble, draw, and do crafts are practicing coordination and exercising their hand and finger muscles. This develops the fine motor control needed in order to hold a pencil and write letters and words.

What Kind of Writing?

You are your child's first role model; they will learn by watching you!kids building writing skills while having fun!

  • When you write lists or notes, show them to your child and talk about what you're doing.

  • Scribbles: let them hold and use thick crayons, pencils, or markers. As they grow, encourage them to make strokes that will later form letters: straight lines, curves, and circles.

  • Drawing: draw pictures for your child, and encourage them to draw their own pictures. Provide blank unlined paper for them to draw on as they please.

  • Name Fun: Play with the sounds and letters of their name. Point out letters you see and have your child find others. Write their name, saying the letters out loud as you point to each. Help your child write their name in uppercase letters and repeat their sounds.

  • Word Writing: help them label parts of pictures or write captions for them.

Putting it into Action

  • Make it easy for your child to draw/write by setting up a craft area for them.

  • Give your child opportunities to use other art supplies like washable finger paints, chalk, playdough, even safety scissors. These build fine motor skills too.

  • Let them experiment with what they write/draw on as well: different kinds of paper, cardboard, the sidewalk. Make or get washable crayons they can use on themselves or on the tub during bath time.

  • Provide coloring pages and pages with simple tracing activities.

  • Write favorite words for them to see: dog, cat, Mom, Dad, etc.

  • Use a chalkboard or magnetic letters on the fridge to write family messages; help your child write their own messages too.

  • When your child is ready to write letters, start with them in uppercase.

  • Display your child's drawings and writing around the house: on your fridge, etc.

Here are several examples of using Writing to help build early literacy skills:

  • When you go grocery shopping or have errands to run, write out a list and ask your child to add to it. As you complete it, have your child check the item off.

  • Talk to your child about what they draw: ask questions and respond to what they say. Make up stories together about the picture.

  • Ask your child to label parts of their drawings. This will also help them understand that words stand for things.

  • Suggest drawing a story: three pictures for the beginning, middle, and end. Have your child tell you the story so you can write out captions for the pictures.

  • Draw a picture yourself and tell your child about it, then ask them to draw one for you. You can trade pictures back and forth like a conversation.

  • Encourage your child to “sign” their name on their drawings. Even if it starts out as a scribble, they are learning that they can write something to represent their name. Later, they will be able to write their initials, then the complete name.


Saroj Ghoting
Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition

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