I love to stumble (a Pinterest find) across a new book that is full of “aha moments” for me. The Write Start (A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage) by Jennifer Hallissy is my newest discovery that has helped me grow my literacy expertise.
Jennifer takes a look at writing from an occupational therapist viewpoint. She offers advice and support for every stage of writer (Scribblers, Spellers, Storytellers and Scholars). The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories includes 52 playful activities with adaptations for each stage of writer. This is a book that will provide useful strategies for all ages.
So, what were some of the “aha moments” for me? Here are just a few. I really could have highlighted most of the book!
- “Big muscles support little muscles.” Gross motor activities help to strengthen coordination, stamina and strength. All of these skills are necessary for writing too. Hallissy suggests some of the following gross motor activities: playing catch, hanging from the monkey bars and crawling.
- “Writing on a vertical surface (chalkboard, dry-erase board, and sidewalk chalk on an outdoor wall) strengthens writing muscles.”
Both of my boys would be considered Scribblers. Here are a few of the activities from the book that we have been having fun with. I love when our learning is rooted in fun and play!
Fun and Playful Writing Activities Inspired from The Write Start
In this activity you take turns writing letters on each other backs for them to guess. For the “Scribbler” Hallissy suggests starting with X’s and O’s. My son liked to do this in the bathtub. We lathered up his back and wrote the letters on his soapy skin. Then, he practiced on his brother’s back.
Fill a small tray with sand. We chose to make moon sand (flour and baby oil) for an extra pleasant sensory experience! Show the child how to make the shape, symbol or letter in the sand. Erase by smoothing the sand and repeat! For the “Scribbler” we stuck with lines (horizontal, vertical, zig zag). I used modeling cards to help us.
Encourage the child to create a list. How about a shopping list, favorite toy list, favorite songs, etc. For the “Scribbler”, it’s suggested that the adult create a short list and allow the child to scribble out each one that is completed. We went on a listening walk. As my then 2 year-old heard a sound, he scribbled out the picture on his paper. We’ve taken several of these walks!
These are just 3 of the 52 ideas Hallissy has in her book. Again, each one can be adapted for each stage of writer. I highly recommend this book for the writer in your life. It will be especially helpful to anyone with little ones who are struggling with fine motors skills needed for writing.
I hope you will find this book as useful as I have. It has earned a place on my favorite teaching books shelf! What books have you read lately that have helped you nurture your kids’ literacy growth?
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