13 May 2010

Today's Target: Mark Making to Writing

Children learn to write by starting "mark making" these simple marks then develop into something more recognisable as writing, from a very young age they will imitate adults, grasping writing tools and making marks on paper or any other available surface! It is important during this development that they are encouraged, as young writers as it is from this that handwriting grows.

Mark-making can be done with a pencil and paper but the wider the range of textures and media that are used the more fun it is and the more children will practice it.

Some suggestions:
  • Paint using an easel and brushes
  • Chalk on boards
  • Draw in sand (wet or dry) with either a stick or a finger
  • Paint the playground / wall with water and large brushes
  • Draw shapes in the air with a wand
  • Finger paint
  • Dance with a ribbon in your writing hand
  • Draw in cornflour "gloop"
  • Draw in salt
  • Write with pens on a whiteboard
  • Use chunky triangular crayons
  • Use felt tip pens or colouring pencils
  • Draw in mud with sticks
Learning to hold a pencil and make marks that ultimately lead to writing is a complex development. Young children’s scribblings and drawings are their way of communicating and showing observation of their world and as parents and teachers we should encourage, praise and celebrate their achievements.

Examples of development - writing a weather report by my nearly four year old and my nearly six year old boys.

The scribbled circle is the sun, the sideways wavy line is the "s" (followed by another attempt - that looks like a c), then a recogniseable (but formed incorrectly) "u" and a "n".

There is a whole sentence that is recognisable (one reversed letter and the x to cross out a s which was placed without a finger space) plus a recogniseable picture!

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