Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Write On, Kiddo: Raising Writers

As soon as I saw my kiddo trying to write notes on her own, I knew it was go time.
If you read Raising Readers, you'll remember that my almost 4-year-old darlin' has really been getting down with literature lately.

And when I say that...I mean that homegirl reads ME her bedtime stories every night. Every. Single. Word.

We've been putting her to bed early and leaving the hall light on so she can sit in her doorway, reading stories out loud for a half hour each night before she reads herself to sleep. 

It's no lie. The kid can full on read. But ask her to try some new foods, stop calling out in dance class, or get her dang hands out of her pants... Eh. Win some, lose some, right? But I digress.
I have been leaving books in our child's room for her to practice letter writing for a few months.
Because we have been leaving notes every night for a few months (catch up by reading Learning to Read Love Letters), I started to notice her attempting to write notes of her own soon thereafter. The only problem? There are notes EVERYWHERE now, and it's getting a little untidy finding these lil' letters in every nook and cranny.
Practicing on this little pad gave me the idea to collect notes in one book.
Suddenly, it dawned on me to create an awesome keepsake that would store all our sweet love letters in one place. 

When my mama brought those diaries back into my life (Dear Diary...You're Embarrassing) I was so entranced by the recollection of how liberating it used to feel to have my own book- to do with as I pleased- to doodle, paste photos, and write my innards out.

I figured...why not let our daughter get the jump start?

Recalling a journal someone had given me years ago, I dug it out and handed it over. My plan? I told her that, instead of leaving her a piece of paper with a note on it each night, I was going to leave my message inside this book so that she could try to write back.

And so it began.

I started by writing simple commands to see if she could read, process and complete each task. One of my first notes asked her to practice writing the word "love" on the page.

Each task would be given at bedtime. Calling these assignments her "homework," I upped the ante by asking her to practice writing the names of our family members. I modeled each name on one page and asked her to try on her own after I left the room. She would show me her efforts in the morning and we'd discuss.

As days passed, she started experimenting on her own with her book. Some nights, she would draw cool pictures and write her own labels for them. Below, she drew a picture of "Mom" and "Dad" holding hands underneath clouds. So cute!
I love how she branched out to draw pictures and still included writing to create captions.
On other nights, our daughter would copy sections of the note I had left her on the opposite page. Then she would add in writing she knew she had down pat- like her name or "I love you."
An example of a note I had written that  copied. She added "I want to hang out," and "I love you Mom," on her own. 

I also encourage visitors to leave notes in this book as well. These will all add to the loveliness of the keepsake when this cutie gets older. 

And now, to my heart's delight, our daughter is actually leaving us real notes, forming real sentences, writing them out and spelling all by herself! I swear it was really just that easy. Giving her control over this book has prompted her to want to learn to write.
A note to me- from Little Miss
But, with anything, there's always a catch. Heads up- I've been busting my budding J.K. Rowling writing in (ehem) other places. I'm finding notes on walls, inside storybook covers, on our mail, on her dollhouse get the idea. 

Do you think I should get her to start writing ads for Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser?

Hey. Watching the wee ones flourish is worth it. Try this out with your little rascals and let me know what cool tricks you develop and uncover along the way. You can use anything to get started- an old notebook, a writing pad, whatever inspires you and your aspiring writer.

Originally, I tried to encourage her to cut out pictures from her magazines to decorate the cover of her book, but the notion of damaging her precious reading material sent her into a state of frenzy. Writing all over them, on the other hand...

Make memories that you can store on your bookshelf, then write me a note to tell us how it goes!
Write on, kiddos!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours


Shazberry said...

That's such a clever idea! I really can't wait to try these tips. I hope I have a writer on my hands. your such an awesome mama!

Shazberry said...

That's such a clever idea! I really can't wait to try these tips. I hope I have a writer on my hands. your such an awesome mama!