Meaningful Writing Experiences

Show Children How You Use Writing
  • Making lists of things to do or items to pick up at the grocery store.
  • Writing a note to letter.
  • Writing events on a calendar.
  • Writing in a diary.
  • Writing your name or the child’s name on things.
Provide Lots of Writing Materials
  • Have lots of paper and different kinds of paper available and accessible (for example, in the child’s room and in a play area).
  • Have lots of pencils, crayons, markers available and accessible.
  • Provide children with blank books to draw and write in.
  • Provide children with office forms, phone message pads, smaller notebooks and pocket calendars.
Create Reasons for Your Child to Write
Of course younger children won’t be able to actually write. The point is to ask them to try, help them if they ask (but don’t do it for them), encourage them to pretend to write (just like Mommy or daddy does) and praise any effort. Here are some specific suggestions:
  • Ask children to write a note for a sibling, friend, grandparent or child care provider.
  • Ask your child to put their name on all art work or other creations.
  • Encourage a daily writing experience by giving children a diary and having them write in it at a regular time. (Younger children can just scribble. Older children can perhaps draw a picture and describe things that happened.)
  • Have children make lists of things they want to remember, or simply to imitate you when you have a list.
  • Help note children’s schedules on a calendar. What will they be doing this week? Important upcoming events can be noted.
Make Writing Part of Their Play
Children love to pretend. Add a writing element to pretend play, such as:
  • A pretend restaurant can include children creating menus and taking orders on note paper.
  • If you have a play telephone, put a phone message pad nearby with pencils and encourage notes.
  • Office or home play should include paper and pencils.
  • Provide envelopes and paper and encourage letter writing as one way pretend characters can communicate with one another.