Teaching: Writing & literacy

Here are some ideas to help with early writing, moving on to the beginnings of creative writing.

1 Clay Letters

What you need:
clay or play-dough
paper and pencil
What you do:
1. Print a few letters of the alphabet on the paper, making them at least 15 cms tall.
2. Roll lumps of clay or dough into long, thin strips.
3. Help your child form the strips into letters. At first, your child can make the letter directly on a written model.


Continue this activity by making a large letter on the floor with masking tape. Talk with your child about the name of the letter and a word that begins with that letter. Your child can walk or jump on the masking tape in the shape of the letter saying the name of the letter while walking or jumping.
He or she can progress to forming the strips below the written letter, using it as a guide.
This enables your child to become familiar with the shape of the letters and practice forming them independently.             
2. Children then progress to trying to form letters on their own. They can copy a sentence and draw a picture to illustrate this.
This activity helps children make progress and is for children who have mastered some of the skills needed to learn to read and write. They should finish this activity either with a photograph or by drawing a picture of themselves.
Emergent writing refers to a child's beginning attempts to use print in a meaningful way.
3. The next stage is to stimulate children into enjoying writing and using the imagination to combine oral vocabulary with written words. One way of doing this is to help them make a menu of foods which they like to eat.
You will need paper, glue, pictures of food cut out from magazines, crayons or markers and names of different foods clearly written on cards.
It is a good idea to discuss with your child the purpose and use of a menu. They can choose a real or pretend meal for your child to put on the menu.
Help the child lay the pictures of food out on the table. Allow your child to pick out a few pictures.
Help your child to write “Menu” at the top of the paper. The child can glue the foods they have selected on to the left hand side of the paper.
Using the cards help your child find the names of their selected foods. They can glue the name next to the food or copy it directly onto the paper.
When you are finished encourage your child to read the menu back to you .
Handwriting is a skill which takes practice.           
  • Sitting properly is important.
  • A sloping surface may be helpful.
  • Child may use either pencils or pens.
  • Pencil grips may help the child grip the pencil.
  • Use a dot to start and a dash to finish.
  • Children need a great deal of variety of pre-writing skills i.e. painting, drawing and copying, use play dough shapes.
  • Computers are useful aids.
  • Use computer programmes to reinforce reading and writing.
You are your child’s first teacher. Your home is where your child will get his or her first experiences with books and reading.
Ensure that you are doing all you can to help your child.
  • Use an alphabet book.
  • Every day, read magnetic letters on the fridge.
  • Keep pencils, paper and crayons out so that the child can work on their own.
  • If possible have a small table and chair the child can use by themselves.
  • Use Nursery Rhymes to increase child’s vocabulary.
  • Picture books stimulate children and help increase their imaginations.
  • Use Reader Rabbit and other games on the computer with your child.
  • Memory games and picture lotto help to learn the alphabet..
  • Read a story to your child especially at bedtime.
  • We read words we see as we walk to the park e.g. park, bus, cafe.
  • Talk to your child ad show them how you make their sandwich, bake cakes together.
  • Teach your child nursery rhymes.
  • Encourage your child to speak in sentences.
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