Written language is not just about knowing how to write letters. It is a complex integrative process. When we learn to write, almost all areas of the brain work at once – and they do so cohesively, creating an entirely functional system.
The visual areas are responsible for reproducing and storing the word and letter images in the working memory; the auditory areas work with the phoneme. For this reason, when children first begin to write, they speak each word aloud. The motor and deep brain areas are responsible for sufficient muscle tone, correct fine movements, and fine switching between positions. And of course, all this is accompanied by analysis and searching for semantically appropriate words.
Can you imagine how many tasks a child’s brain has to perform per second when it outputs a letter? Let’s help your child learn this critical skill.
The progress in writing largely depends on how ready your child’s hand is. It’s about overall tone, the posture a child takes to write, and, of course, motor skills. A clumsy kid with good handwriting is rare because problems with gross motor skills often entail difficulties with fine motor skills.
Hand preparation for writing starts naturally from birth: even just by playing in the sandpit, a child develops motor skills. Skipping, jumping rope games, cycling, and rope parks – all contribute to this goal.
Today, parents have a popular idea of early – ahead of time – development, but it just doesn’t make sense to actively get a child behind the pen before they are 4–5 years old. At that age, it’s enough to know how to hold a pencil.
A child is ready to learn to write, if the following skills have been formed:
Children are most willing to do things they like and enjoy, so all the tasks we offer to teach a child to write (or read) should be in the form of play. Making writing a time-consuming chore in the daily routine leads to a child associating learning with compulsion rather than enjoyment, which hurts their attitude to learning and school in general.
Children also love activities that they can do with their parents, so adults should do the proposed tasks together with their children.
Children are happy to learn something that can be useful for something “cool”. So, it is worth showing them all the benefits that they can get for themselves by acquiring a new skill.
Otherwise, children will be unable to understand on their own what positive benefits they will get from mastering the writing technique. Meanwhile, it gives them great pleasure to be able to sign a picture of their favorite grandmother or a toy with their name so that it is easier to distinguish it from those belonging to other children. Writing can also be useful for writing a list of their favorite treats to their mum, a note asking them to go to the cinema, or their first-ever message or email.
Fine motor skills are the best preparation for handwriting. Modeling with clay, playing with cereal, stringing beads, tearing paper, and making applications. This will prepare your arm muscles for the activity.
You can also simply draw (with pencils or wax crayons), color, and do simple strokes, spirals, patterns, and straight and wavy lines of different lengths. Practicing these elements before school will help a child get used to writing more quickly.
Learning about letters and memorizing their shapes is one of the most difficult tasks. What can you do to make it an interesting adventure together? First, pay attention to the fact that letters can be written not only on paper, but also on the sand, on a surface sprinkled with flour, or on paper with a finger dipped in paint. You can also make letters out of salt dough and use them to make an inscription, such as a child’s name, to hang on the wall in their room. A “tasty” idea is to make shortbread cookies in the shape of letters or to decorate sandwiches with ketchup or jam.
You can also devote a little more time to learning about letters and organize letter days when the whole family can participate. On a “letter day” in the morning, for example, the family can draw funny posters with the corresponding letter together and then prepare a meal with foods whose name (or the name of the full meal) begins with that letter.
If the desire to teach your child to write is overwhelming, give your child a pencil. Learning should be fun, and you should try to avoid stress. Writing the first letters is stressful for any toddler. So you should always give it a chance to correct its first mistakes. And this is easy to do if the letters are written in pencil.
One line is written, and later the rest should be done – the first rule for caring parents. Concentration time at ages 7-8 is very short and kids can only concentrate on letters for a maximum of 5 minutes (2-3 is better). Paradoxically, at the initial stage of learning, the less a pupil writes, the better he or she does. Often, adults will buy a child three different copybooks and make them write a page each day. This can not be done in this way.
If a child is having trouble writing a particular letter or is moving off the line, you need to work on orientation on the sheet of paper. Practice tasks are: find 10 differences, draw a dot at the bottom (at the top, in the middle, left, or right of some object on the page). Learn to draw small and large circles and relate their sizes. Use notebooks with extra lines as ready examples, or create your own notebooks with writing tasks, like specialists from the writing service Write My Essays create a new structure for each content type. Frequent rulers help to keep the correct slope and letters the right width.
Encourage your child to proceed with learning, rather than scolding him/her for making mistakes. For example, take a green pen (or give it to your child) and ask to circle the letters that are the best. You will see, next time the kid will be guided by them. It is already complicated for a child to write and if you constantly stress about what you did not get, they will not want to learn at all.
The last thing to consider is that you don’t have to rush your child. Of course, parents may already find it hard to remember the arduous journey of learning to write. Writing is a tricky skill that comes with time and practice. So there is no need to push your child and even less so to be annoyed or to scold them for failing.
Give your child some room for action. Let them choose what to write today and how. You just help them and correct them if necessary. Start with the easiest one, making it progressively more difficult but don’t forget to repeat what you’ve taught them to reinforce their skills.
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