The other day my four year old decided to write some words down using a dry erase easel. Her muse was a pile of familiar books laying there on the coffee table. While I washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen I could see her going back and forth, first reading a word in a book and then copying it down on the easel. She insisted I NOT look until she was done. She was in a groove, and twenty-five minutes later she unveiled her piece of work. It was Spectacular (proud mama that I am)! Did I care that she was running titles together and randomly selecting words so that they made little sense when read aloud in a sentence? Not in the least! Did I fret that she was using both upper and lower case letters? Nope. She was getting some solid practice at writing letters that then form words. This was something she wouldn’t have done if I asked her. She had to become inspired. She was writing because she wanted to and I could not have gotten that out of her if my life depended on it!
Reading and writing go hand in hand. They each lend something to the other. In spite of the fact of being opposite, they feed each other along the way of literacy development. Children learn to read first. Writing is a very sophisticated skill that comes after reading. Reading is paramount in teaching one to write. Reading can INSPIRE writing. Life experience can INSPIRE writing. Emotions can INSPIRE writing. The best thing we can do for kids is to help find their INSPIRATION and then allow them to create a piece of art they will be proud of. Incidentally, spelling and handwriting will come in time, the expression of ideas is the most important thing to nurture here.
The dry erase easel has since been erased. But I snapped a few pics of my daughter standing next to it so it will be with us for quite a while.
On a side note, April is the month of the Military Child! “Blue Star Families” is having an essay contest to help honor our youngest heroes. If you are a Military Family or know a Military Family, here is a great way to encourage expression through writing. “Blue Star Families” is asking the question
“What does it mean to you to be a military child?”
Here is the link if you want to check it our or pass it on…