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Kids learn to speak much before they learn to write. By the time, they enter kindergarten, they are speaking in long sentences and able to articulate many complex thoughts, detailed descriptions of their experiences. The ability to express the same thoughts in print (writing them down) requires an advanced set of skills that may or may develop as naturally as happens in case of spoken language.
Learning to write and then writing to express one’s thoughts are skills that take a while for our young learners. There is a rough sequence in which these skills become proficient:
Mechanics of writing: first children learn how to make different letters and what sounds do different letters make. This process takes most of nursery and some bit of kindergarten for most children. Teachers and parents should spent a lot of time on this skill set without rushing children to write words or sentences.
Fluency in writing: this is a milestone that makes or breaks many of our budding writers. When wanting to write as an expression of their thoughts, children need to print the words with speed. Most reluctant learners are able to make their letters and write words correctly, but are unable to do it at a sufficient pace. This struggle makes writing a frustrating experience.
Talking to children about these processes and helping them see relevance of same, go a long way. Once children own up their learning goals, it facilitates learning at a faster pace.
If you can read what child has written, help them become fast writer. The handwriting practice tools place higher emphasis on proper letter formation. However, once child learns to make their letter properly, we need to give them the next goal of writing with speed.
Repeated writing of important spellings also helps them become fluent writers because then they don’t need to stop to think while they write. This practice has taken a back seat in modern day teaching processes that emphasise lateral thinking. However, for writing patterns to be imprinted in their senses, repeated writing of same words is needed. The age-old practice of repeated writing had, and will always have, an important place in the process of acquiring these initial skills. Wanting them to write varied words and sentences without giving them enough practice of sheltered practices may push our children to become frustrated as writers. The end result could be refusal or avoidance of writing tasks.
So, my advice, as you help them hone their oral expressions, have them write those names of animals, numbers, days of the week, etc., 8 to 10 times!
Yes, it is mechanical, does not require much critical thinking. But it will serve an essential function of grooming their hands, and minds towards becoming fluent writers. Don’t we want them to handle the pens and pencils with comfortable flair? Don’t we want them to write many beautiful thoughts as they grow up?