A friend once told me she was bothered, because her son was not interested in writing (he was four/five). I reassured her and explained it would come and it was important to go with the child. In some countries, writing is taught the same, until around seven!
I suggested if she wanted to actively encourage it, she kept it real and not panic or put the pressure on.
“I’m really busy, can you help me write a shopping list”
Upshot was he began to choose to write. Largely shopping lists, initially… But he was choosing to put pen to paper; a vital skill!
Other things to keep it real could be:-
A note reminding daddy/mummy to do something
A note to an auntie/granny.
Book review- they get to give their opinion, give it star ratings
As children get more able, if you feel you want to foster creative writing at home. Keep it fun and interesting. Following children’s lead here can have have a massive impact. It encourages children to practise all their whizzy writing skills! If they don’t want to write, don’t make them! Unfortunately you would be doing more harm than good.
Ideas for Home
Stimulus doesn’t have to be text based- it could be audio recordings, sounds, images, video clips… They need a hook to ignite their writing
www.literacyshed.co.uk has some fabulous ideas for all genres….
Alan Peat had also some brilliant resources, we use lots of his ideas in school, and many would work at home too.
Casually throw in an activity, part way watching a film together! Even just a discussion can support them as writers; talk for writing.
– give them a story opener (book or film) can they predict what will happen and write their own climax and ending
– support them in drawing/creating a character to include in a story
-share lots of quality books with exciting plots, rich and varied word choice.
-pictures- describe the setting, including the senses(see, hear, taste, touch, smell
– recounts/diaries/news reports on family days out and events! Who can think of the best headline? Etc
The Early Years
Some children take longer than others to perfect the art of forming letters, supporting them with fun fine motor skill activities can really help here. My son struggles and needs to concentrate to form a correct pincer grip, he knows he finds it tricky. There are tricks such as putting the one a different way, so when they pick it up, it is in the correct position, for my son, he just turns it too suit home so we are trying other activities that promote fine motor control. The imagination tree has some great ideas as does pininterest https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/204913851772401268/
Don’t rush them
My biggest advice would be don’t rush them, all children develop differently. Don’t get bogged down by all the genius children your friends post on Facebook, maybe they can write an essay at four, but do they have more tantrums, not speak as well, less comprehension…. Remember people rarely post or discuss the things their children find more challenging.
My two eldest kiddiewinks are a prime example of children having different strengths. By four kiddiewink 4 could write neatly and attempt any word phonetically. Kiddiewink 2 is almost five but doesn’t start school until September and his fine motor skills are poor, he always uses a Palmer grip by choice and his writing is definitely more like mark making still! Am I worried ? Nope! He has better comprehension of stories and a ridiculously advanced vocabulary for four. If he is still like this by Year one with his writing, I may start to get frustrated, but for now, I am just going with the flow.