If you caught my IGTV today, then you saw my ‘Teacher Tip Tuesday- Summer Writing’ segment. I always have parents ask me for creative ways to keep their children writing over the summer. I teach first grade, and at that age, many young writers are apprehensive or proclaim they don’t like to write. It’s so gratifying when former students hit middle school and comes back to visit telling me that they love to write. Much of a young writer’s distaste comes from the physical act of writing- remembering how to form the letters, recalling sounds, stringing them together, and eventually formulating words. At a young age, nothing comes automatic yet, so it can become taxing just to write a simple sentence.
The Tiny Notebook
The vessel for today’s “Teacher Tip Tuesday- Summer Writing” is the tiny notebook. Implementing “Tiny Notebook Time” this summer will allow your child the structure and encouragement to write each day. Tell your child he/she is going to pick out a special ‘Tiny Notebook ‘ to keep ideas in for the summer. Allow him to be in ‘the driver’s seat’ as he picks out his own journal. Visit a local bookstore or browse Amazon together. Go crazy! Let him pick out special sparkly pens or write with colored pencils.
Set a timer each day and let him choose- free writing or a prompt. You can find some awesome prompts here. Model good writing behavior! Work on your grocery or to-do lists as your child writes. Play some fun music and designate a special spot in your house as the writing area. Remember that little writers fatigue easily! 10 minutes of consistent writing each day is better than 20 minutes of resistant writing.
A few key points to remember:
- At a young age (K and beginning of 1st) ‘writing’ doesn’t always mean words. Children learn to tell their story through pictures in school. Model that at home. If you child is only interested in only drawing pictures- that is okay! You can gently encourage him to add labels, words, and eventually sentences.
- Kidz spel fuhnetickly. (See what I did there :)) Phonetic spelling is good as gold for our early writers. In K and the beginning of 1st, the goal should be that your child can read his writing back to you. If he is having trouble, help him! Encourage your child to write the sounds he hears in a word. If your child is eagerly asking you how to spell a complex word, write it down for him on a sticky note to copy.
- Praise! And praise some more! Have your child share his writing with a sibling, grandparent, neighbor, babysitter, etc.
Thank you for checking out my first “Teacher Tip” this Tuesday. As a reminder, I will post to IGTV and on the blog each week with a quick, new tip for parents to navigate summer learning at home. While I am a first grade teacher with 12 years experience, all the suggestions in this post are solely-based on my opinion and experiences as a classroom teacher. That being said, this is a COLLABORATIVE space. Please feel free to add your ideas, comments, and questions below. Remember, we are always better together!