Next time your child draws you a beautiful picture and happily explains what they have drawn, grab a marker and write exactly what they say underneath the picture. This is one of the easiest ways to teach a child to write!

What early writing skills is your child learning?

 – Words are made up of letters.

– There are spaces between words.

– We write from left to right.

– For every word that we speak, we write a word. The written word never changes and stays the same thing each time we read it.

– We listen for the sounds in words to write a word. 

– A sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.

– We first say what we are going to write (plan our writing) before we begin writing.

Teachers refer to this technique as ‘shared writing’.

What is shared writing?

Shared writing is when the teacher writes and the learner watches. The learner is still involved in the process and is encouraged to have input, but the pressure of actually ‘doing’ the writing is removed.

How do I use shared writing?

Shared writing is an easy technique to use with your child. There are 3 key steps to shared writing:

  1. Encourage your child to say a sentence aloud before you start writing.  (This teaches children that we have to plan what we are going to write before we begin to write.)
  1. As you are writing a sentence, go back and reread what you have written before writing the next word.  (This teaches children that our writing has to make sense and helps us to write the next word.)
  1. Pretend you need your child’s help by asking questions like:
  • ‘Where do I start writing?’
  • ‘What do I put at the end of a sentence?’
  • ‘What two letters make the /sh/ sound?’

(This will encourage input and reinforce good writing skills.)

How do I use the School Start Buddy to practise shared writing?

With your School Start Buddy open while doing homework with your child, shared writing becomes fun and easy to include in your routine.  Take any opportunity to write on the whiteboard while your child watches and offers input.teach

I hope you gained some valuable tips about teaching your child to write. Remember that your child doesn’t actually have to be ‘doing’ the writing to be learning how to write.

Have fun with shared writing!

Sharona Edwards

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