The Worth of a Challenge

If you give a child a fish, you feed him for a day.
If you teach a child to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
But if you teach a child to learn, you feed him for a lifetime
and he doesn't have to just eat fish.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Journaling for the younger writers

                   This area has been a very trying one for us. The confidence to form words and letters just leaves Jacob stammering sometimes and that is aside from the decision of what to write about. Knowing this about Jacob, I knew I needed to give him more opportunities to write, so he can learn to eventually write on his own. I think it is somewhat of a myth to think that just because my child has a hard time writing, that you should reduce the amount of writing when really the reverse is true. You need to present more writing opportunities to your child.

One of the ways I work on writing practice believe it or not are dot to dot puzzles

They give a clear guide of where the pencil needs to move to and allow for some free form movement in lines. They also give a quick and delightful reward of a picture at completion.

Another idea is using a dry erase board for writing. The large tablet and large size markers are perfect for forming not just letters but words too. The markers glide smoothly and easily across the boards and make for ease of movement as well.

Another aid I like to utilize are the letter stamps that come in both upper and lower case. The child can stamp the words and then write on the stamped area as a writing guide.

If you don't have time or money for stamps, pre-writing in a highlighter for your child can also be beneficial. Pick their favorite color and just have them dictate what they would like to write and transcribe using the highlighter. It can also help in getting ideas to paper fast rather than struggle through the process of word formation for the earliest of writer.

            One of my earliest observations was that pride in work inspires more writing. Knowing that, I give my child a wide variety of topics that interest him to write about. It might be a book we read together, a show we watched or a toy he might have seen at a store. A wonderful gal I have learned from by way of a video was Bev Boss, she shows how children are constantly thinking...ALL THE TIME. At a preschool she ran, she had a person take time to write down the child's thoughts and help the child read them. I found this to be true just watching my own children. My kids are thinking all the time. They are discovering and learning and dreaming. Sampled below I followed Jacob as he dreamed up a story and wrote it down and then wrote it out on journal paper in highlighter for him to make the story a "real" book.

If you are still early in getting your child to master control of his or her pencil(which we call the power wand at our house, because words are power) there are lots of things you can do.
You can download hand writing worksheets like the one I have below* or you can purchase workbooks that have very simple tutorials for forming letters.

You can find worksheets** also online that get your child starting to write words by writing in missing letters

One activity that is great is using the large letter tracers* for getting the shape of letters correct on a large scale so that when it is transferred to smaller print, it is correct. But remember, it is better to perfect it on the larger scale rather than waiting till your writer is on a smaller scale of print.

Now matter what stage of writing your child is at, there are a few things to remember

  • Proudly display work
  • Read the writing aloud, even if it is just reading letters that were formed correctly
  • Reread and revisit early writing and look for ways to make it better, because that is where learning to "edit" comes from and creates new ideas.
  • Look for things to write about. The next time your child gets jazzed up about something, say "lets write it down and make it real"

*These activities came from confessions of a homeschooler She has lots more writing and learning activities there as well
**This activity came from KIZCLUB check it out and see all the other amazing things they have provided


  1. I really like the highlighter idea. You have some great information here. Thank you for linking up to NOBH. Have a wonderful week.

  2. Found you on the NOBH thanks for linking up, now following hope you will consider following back:) Good ideas on the writing I am working on that with my 6 yr old. My 9 yr old is now trying cursive writing:)

  3. Thanks for the ideas, Sarah. My kids could really use some help in the writing department. Great suggestions!

  4. Great ideas for giving lots of writing experiences! I think it's wonderful that you're offering a variety of experiences. That really adds interest and helps you discover what works best for your child. Visiting from the Hip Homeschool Hop!
    Deb @