Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 4

Welcome to Week 4!

If you are joining us for the first time, I encourage you to first read Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 1. Then, be sure to come back and join us for this week’s play group activities!

Welcome back! Last week was one of my favorite weeks yet! We have been singing our name songs all week long and really enjoying our name activities. I was also thrilled by some of the fantastic ideas our other play group members shared last week: Name Preschool Activities, Name Kits, and Encouraging Writing Through Postcard Exchange. One of them that was particularly helpful in our home was the activity of creating a chart to sort letters that can be found in your name and are not found in your name. Big Brother is hard on the track of learning his letters this year and he really loved this activity. He even wanted to play it with his brother’s name and mine and my husband’s names as well. Thank you all again for sharing! Ready for more fun!? Let’s get started!

Just a reminder 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 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

 (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: Poke Writing


1. Strengthen fine motor skills

2. Instruct correct letter formation (printable letter formation guide sheet)

3. Learn the attributes of each letter

4. Have Fun!


1. Print out the Printouts of Letters, and collect your materials.
2. Choose a letter (partner the capital letters and lowercase letters together).
3. Sit together on the carpet or rug. Model correct letter formation for your child while you trace the letter with your finger while the paper is lying on the carpet.
4. Hold your child’s hand and trace the letter together.
5. Encourage your child to trace the letter on their own.
6. Hand them a toothpick and have them ‘poke a letter’ by poking holes into the letter in the path that they would normally trace when writing the letter.
7. Hold the letter up to a window, allowing the sun to shine through to show their poke letter.
8. Continue creating Poke Letters in your own timeframe. (1 letter (capital and lowercase) per day, 1 letter per week, 2-3 letters each day, etc.)
*Note: Toddlers & Preschoolers LOVE this activity and may want to do many letters at once. Decide what would be the best and most meaningful for your child. I actually have to limit my 3 year old to one letter at at time, or he would keep poking all day! 
Extension Lessons:
1. Type your child’s name and print it out. Use their name as a practice ‘Poke Writing’ activity.
2. Type a few High Frequency Words that you are working on with your child, print them out and use them for ‘Poke Writing’ pages.

Writing Practice

(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.) 

Activity: Create a Beginner Story Board


1. Practice writing a story orally.

2. Connecting ideas, thoughts, images, and words to create a story.

3. Improve visual perception skills (specifically left to right eye movement) in creating the visual story from the left side of the paper to the right side.

4. Have Fun!


  • Paper (large, or tape a few sheets together)
  • Markers, Scissors, Glue,
  • Stickers, magazine pictures, other graphics
1. First, decide if you want a parent-led or child-led story board. The only difference is in who selects the theme, and how much guidance/direction you (the parent) gives along the way.
(Parent-led theme)
2. Have a group of pictures themed around a central topic already cut out and ready for your child. Ask them how the pictures might fit together to make a story. Lay them out on the paper as your child begins to tell you the story.
(Child-led theme)
2. Have your child use stickers, magazines (with assistance in cutting our pictures), and create a giant picture. 3. Ask them to tell you how the story all fits together. To get a story, you will need to ask specific guiding    questions:
  • Who are the characters?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where are they?
  • How do they feel?
  • Is there a problem?
  • How did they/are they going to fix the problem?
(Parent & Child Led Directions cont.)
4. Write down key words they use to label some of the pictures. Retell their story to them as you label images and or write key words.
5. Ask your child if they want to search for any more or draw any more pictures to finish their story.
6. Encourage your child to retell the story again to you or to someone else.
Additional Story Board Resources: 
4. Marnie from Carrots are Orange created a great ‘My Very First Storyboard’ with her son!

Click Here to Grab the Code! 


  1. I stopped by to notify you that I nominated you for two blog awards… 😀

  2. My preschool had Open House yesterday, so I’m just reading your post this morning. I looooooove the pushpin idea and need to add that to my “arsenal” for my kiddo and my students. Thanks, again, for hosting this. I’ll keep pinning and sharing your ideas with my teaching buds. And thanks so much for mentioning some of my posts! Hope your week goes well!

  3. I love the Poke writing idea. It would really develop those fine motor skills needed for writing. Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  4. This is great! I really like the idea of poke writing for my three year old. Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  5. I just found your blog tonight and am having such a fun time exploring. I know this was written a couple years ago, but I’m wondering if you know where you found the style of letters that your son is using in the the picture at the top. I like the style with the upper and lower and a thin line. The printable letters are a little too thick for the poke activity. If you don’t remember, no problem. I’m sure I could just write up my own.


  1. […] Beginner Story Boards and Poke Writing by MacKenzie at Cheerios and Lattes […]

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