Welcome to Week 1!
I am so excited you came to our Play to Write-Write to Read Wednesday Play Group! One of the best and most important aspects of our play group, is that YOU (the parent) are invited and actually needed to play along with your child! Each week, we will play in two different ways: The FUNdamentals & The Writing Practice.
For those of you who are joining our Play Group each week you are asked to please do 2 things:
1. Comment on how these activities worked or didn’t work with your child. Feel free to reply to one another to encourage and offer your advice as well! This will also be great to hold us all accountable to one another to actually follow through… don’t we all need a little of that!?
2. Share: Bloggers-you can link up a writing activity you’ve done with your child in the past to share with everyone. You are totally welcome to reteach the same strategies on your own blogs and then link up those posts the following week (please do be sure to link back). Non-Bloggers & Bloggers we encourage you to teach/share these activities with another mom friend. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if more and more parents began to learn Best Practices for writing to ‘play’ with their kids; these types of activities are not just for teachers! Let’s empower each other by sharing!
(The FUNdamentals section focuses on guiding your toddler/preschooler through the basics of developing the fine motor and gross motor skills needed for the physical act of writing, but doing so with ‘fun’ activity.)
Activity 1: Line Mazes
1. Strengthen fine motor skills
2. Improve visual perception skills (specifically left to right eye movement)
3. Teach child how to correctly hold a marker/crayon
4. Have Fun!
Click HERE to visit a complete explanation of the activity and the directions. I shared this a few months ago when I began blogging. It was the first activity I started with when I began intentionally teaching Big Brother the FUNdamentals of writing. He loves this activity and we play it frequently at restaurants and in waiting rooms!
(The Writing Practice section focuses on a new ‘Best Practice’ Writing Strategy each week. A ‘Best Practice’ writing strategy is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to creating strong writers.)
Writing Practice 1: Partner Jo urnaling
1. Model basic sentence writing for your child
2. Demonstrate that spoken words can be written words
3. Improve visual perception skills (specifically left to right eye movement)
4. Visually connect verbal words with written text
5. Have fun and connect with your child.
Partner Journaling Directions:
1. Take a special trip to the store and buy a journal with your child. Even if you are on a tight budget, it is well worth the $1-2 sacrifice to create a special memory with your child, allowing them to select a journal (yes, you can strongly guide them in selecting the right one). I recommend that you find one with space to draw at the top of the pages and then lines below for writing. Allow them to decorate, draw, paint, etc. the cover to really personalize their journal.
Personal Note: My son ‘selected’ a Mead K-2 Primary Journal found at Wal-Mart. I clearly pointed out the great space their was for him to draw pictures in it and he was hooked! :)
2. Select a writing prompt (suggestions below) and ask them to tell you about that trip, event, party, movie, etc. Ask them questions to get them talking/writing with their words. As you write their short sentences, clarify by reading the sentence back to your child as you write it. When you complete a few sentences or when they tell you they are finished, go back and reread all the sentences back to your child again. Use your finger to touch the words as you read them, this is so important because it informally teaches them so many important skills for reading readiness such as eye movement from left to right and that their words can be written down to create a story. Writing in a journal is a great way to help children capture special memories and reflect back on their day/week.
Sample Partner Journaling Time:
Mackenzie: Hey Buddy, do you want to write about going to the movie theater the other day?
M: Ok, what should we say first?
J: I goed to the movie.
M: Great! I went to the movies. (I didn’t make a big deal out of his grammar but rather just simply corrected it and repeated it back to him correctly.)
J: Mom, I’m thirsty!
M: Ok Buddy, let’s finish our writing then we can go get a drink. (I notice he tends to ‘need’ something when things get difficult. So I encourage him to keep going, but offer a little more assistance.)
M: What movie did you see?
J: Brave, I didn’t like the mean bear.
M: Ok, (I refocus him back to the first sentence he created using the title.) I saw Brave. (I read the sentence as I write.) Who did you say was scary?
J: The bear
M: OK, The bear was scary.
J: They pushed each other!
M: You’re right they did… let’s write that down! (I write down his sentence.)
J: The bears were not being nice mom!
M: That’s an excellent sentence Buddy! (I notice that he is tired and fidgety so I reread the sentences pointing to each word as I read.) Ok, do you want to draw the picture of the bears pushing each other like your sentence said?
J: Yeah! Can you help me!?
Suggesting Prompts for Toddlers/Preschoolers: Activities they completed, friends, vacations, play-dates, favorite snacks, favorite food, a movie or show they watched recently, a family member, a prayer, a lesson they learned, a fun day, etc.
Important Tip: If you don’t already encourage your toddler/preschooler to speak in sentences begin to do so. This will help their writing as well! Teach them to speak as you would want them to write! For example when you toddler says: Hungry! Gently ask them to tell you in a sentence. “Mom, I’m hungry!” Of course you will need to model this in the beginning but it will become more natural after a week or two.
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