Writing centers are an important part of every early child care center. Prior to the age of 4, children should be allowed to practice writing as much as they are interested, but NEVER forced to practice writing. Given the right materials, every child will want to learn how to write simply because they see their beloved teacher writing every day, and they will be diligent in improving their skills without direct instruction if allowed. This article will focus on two strategies on learning to LOVE to write rather than just learning how to form letters.
- Allow children to dictate their short stories to you every week as soon as they can pick up a crayon and tell you about their drawings. At first you may just ask them to tell you about their picture and you can write what they tell you. When you make a big deal about their story, they will want to write more and more and sooner than you think they will be writing their own stories by themselves.
- Simply put some kind of mailbox in your writing center. (If you don’t have a writing center and want to know how to create one in your program, please call the Resource Center and we will make sure to help you.) You can create a mailbox with a recycled box, blue paper, and a picture of the US Post Office Eagle. You can use an old coffee can and cut a hole in the top so “letters” can be dropped in. At the end of each day, open the mail box and see who got a letter! The first couple of days, teachers send little encouraging notes to each other and sooner than you think, your students will be writing nice letters to their friends and their teachers and improving their literacy skills at the same time! Your students will be learning and they won’t even know it. They may even be having fun.