Encouraging an Avid Writer from the Early Days

Encouraging an Avid Writer from the Early Days

My daughter, Layla, turned four at the end of October and, although she will not be starting school until this September, I am keen to encourage her to begin ‘writing’.

Full disclaimer: contrary to popular belief that teachers must be pushy mothers who train their children to read and write and start learning long division at the age of 6 months, this is not the case! In contrast, I truly believe that children should be children for as long as possible and learn through play and exploration; a big reason why I chose to send her to a forest nursery. Having said this, there is much to be said for creating opportunities for children as young as two to ‘mark-make’ and ‘write’ and this is what I have been attempting to do!

Unfortunately, I suffer from my own mother’s affliction of having to have everything in my house neat and tidy (or as much as you can with three children) so we were never going to have a free-flow “just write on the walls” kind of home; the stuff of nightmares in my opinion!

Luckily, there are ways in which to allow certain freedom of writing without having to get the stain remover out. Here are some ideas that seem to have ignited something in Layla so may well be worth a try for you!

What you can do to inspire your little one:

  • Creating a special writing area with pencils and pens available.
  • Having a chalk board area for further mark making.
  • Using outside chalks on the patio.
  • Water painting outside on the walls – this is literally as it sounds; paintbrushes, a wall and a pot of water!
  • Giving her a notebook – of course Layla chose the most hideous pink fluffy unicorn notebook, but if it means she is keen to put pen to paper, then so be it!
  • Writing the shopping list with me – we started by Layla drawing the pictures of the things I was writing down and this soon turned to listening out for initial sounds in words and attempting to write that sound.
  • Making a post box and making stamps to put on letters. We created our own post box at home and given our worldwide family, Layla is able to ‘write’ postcards to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Encouraging her to write her name on her pictures so that people know whose drawing it is. However hard and frustrating she finds the ‘y’ in her name, she continues to attempt to write it as she wants to show ownership of her drawings.
  • Making up games outside where points are awarded. This is where numbers come into play. It is Important that it is not just words, but also numbers and showing mathematical expressions through mark-making.
  • Shaving foam outside – the kids adore mark-making in the foam and at least they smell nice once they’ve finished. We mainly aim to do this just before bath time!
  • Placing long rolls of paper on the floor and allowing them to get creative with paint sticks/crayons/pens etc!
  • Exploring the woodland playground around the corner from us and writing in the mud with sticks.
  • Changing the location to write – creating an under the tuff tray or under the dining table den and sticking paper to the underside of it. 

For more information on mark-making please visit:

https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Mark_Marking_Matters.pdf