Tutu’s Corner

The Power of Literacy

Very young children begin to learn about writing by playing with writing. They try to imitate adult behavior by using crayons, or pencils to make marks on paper. As children get older, around two to four years old, they start to draw pictures with recognizable forms or shapes. Later their “scribbling” starts to go from left to right.

At Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, we supply our writing area with pens, crayons, paper, chalkboards, and chalk to practice writing. However, there are other activities such as, stringing beads / leis, puzzles, play dough, and blocks, which are designed to strengthen young hands and prepare a young writer’s fingers for writing.

We also expose our children to letters, words, pictures, and photos in books, and signs. To write well, children must have a mental image of what they want to draw or write, and, the ability to make their hands draw or write it.

Try this:
•    Visit our easel painting and play dough centers; do puzzles and stringing activities often with your child. These activities help strengthen hands and fingers for later writing.
•    Visit the writing area often to give keiki opportunities to practice. Let your child draw or write by him/her self.
•    Write ‘thank you’ notes and cards together. Have your child draw a picture of his/her thoughts, while you take dictation.
•    Create a writing area in your home for your child (supply paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers and/or other writing/drawing tools).
•    At the bottom of your child’s artwork, write down his/her comments about the work. Sign his/her name so that there will be a model to copy. Be sure to get permission from your child before writing on the work.
•    When making a shopping list, give your child pencil and paper to write his/her own shopping list. In fact when you have anything to write, give your child pencil and paper to write/draw also.
•    When attending a sandy beach, you and your keiki can have fun writing in the sand.
•    Print your child’s name on things that belong to him. Say, this is your name and this toy or book belongs to you.

Remember, achieving meaning is the driving force behind learning to read. Generating meaning is the driving force behind learning to write.

Contributions from Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, a program of Partners in Development Foundation.  Tutu and Me is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

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