May 23, 2023 | Bridget O'Dowd
How do you help your child develop over the summer and prepare him/her for reading in first grade? Create space for your child to write.
The rules for writing are simple in kindergarten and entering first grade. First, draw a detailed picture. Second, write the sounds you hear in the words that tell your story. Finally, reread your work to make sure you didn’t forget anything important.
Writers begin with a detailed picture and write about their experiences.
Writers listen for sounds in a word and they write the sounds they hear.
The children work to carefully make letters fit the lines. Holding an idea, listening for sounds, identifying letters, and remembering how to form them is hard work! Writing helps to strengthen the child’s working memory.
Writers use spaces between each word. Our fingers are great tools. Remember to use finger spaces!
Writers proofread. The children go back over their words and realize there were some words they couldn’t read. At the end of writing, writers ask four questions. 1.) Did I listen for all of the sounds? 2.) Did I use finger spaces? 3.) Did I put a period at the end of my sentence? 4.) Did I add details to my picture?
- Create space for your child to write. Blank books, stapled pages, and bound journals are great summer tools to have on hand for vacations, camps, and general evening routines. These books make great summer journals.
- Ask, “What sounds do you hear?” Your child doesn’t need to write every sound, spell the word correctly, form each letter perfectly, or space every word appropriately. What’s most important is that you child feels confident in his/her ability to stretch a word, identify some of the sounds, and write those corresponding letters.
- Don’t tell your child how to spell a word. It’s the process, not the perfect product, that’s important. Spelling patterns will come later.
- Notice what your child does well. Point out details in drawings, carefully formed letters, and interesting ideas. Be positive and encouraging.
- Write along with your child. Grocery lists, thank you notes, and letters to grandparents all model practical uses of writing for your child.
- Hold all things lightly. Drawing and writing should be a fun activity, not burdensome. Follow your child’s lead and level of interest. If your child engages joyfully, great! If your child is disinterested, don’t press. There is time.
Ms. O’Dowd came to Mustard Seed in 2017, after moving to Hoboken in 2016. She found a school and a community all in one package at Mustard Seed! Having taught kindergarten in Illinois before moving to New Jersey, Ms. O’Dowd has a passion for five-year-olds. She’s delighted to be a part of the kindergarten team and loves to read and share in story with students. Her favorite moment of the day is during a good read aloud, when she looks out and sees the faces of children showing empathy and emotion in response to the story. Ms. O’Dowd’s hobbies include exploring new neighborhoods, watching BBC documentaries, traveling to visit family, and eating her way through New York City.