Teaching Toddlers Pre-Writing Skills

Nathaniel story

This year I started a writing club through our homeschool support group for kids old enough to write. Patterned after some writing groups for adult writers that I’ve attended, the students each bring a piece of writing and read it to the others and ask for critiques. The idea is to encourage the children to write something well enough that they won’t be embarrassed to read it to their peers. (Use that peer pressure for good, to encourage them to put forth their best effort.) In addition, they hopefully learn to listen to others and to give gentle, but helpful, advice and perhaps learn to improve their own writing in the process.
Since our writing club met this afternoon, the kids were scrambling this morning to finish their writing. As the teens were busy writing, our little guy came and told me that he wanted to write, too. He wanted a pencil and I gave him a choice of a couple of different colors of construction paper–because colored paper is more fun. He scribbled earnestly for some time and then brought it to me and told me his story. I transcribed it for him and at the writing club meeting, I read it aloud to the group.
The other mothers asked if I planned to include it in the literary magazine that we plan to publish. I thought for a moment and then nodded. “Yes, I think that’s fabulous. Though we won’t ask him to edit it. We’ll just list his age. No one will expect better writing of a two-year-old.”
I’m not pushing writing on him, not as a preschooler, but I am encouraging him when he shows an interest. Having the older kids around doing such things gives him a natural motivation to want to learn to write. Getting positive feedback from others will make writing seem fun. And I’ve learned enough from my older kids to know that if I can make it seem like fun, he’ll want to write and will enjoy it and teaching him to write won’t be the battle it could otherwise be.

Cheryl

An apple
It bounced away. Apple came back and went to the store. Somebody eat him. Someone came home and thought he ran away. He sat in his high chair and ate his food. His apple friends ate him.

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