Children will be successful writers in the future if we support them in their early years to:
- increase their memory capacity to hold more words and sentences in their head
- to mark make with accuracy and good control
- to have a want to generate text for their own purposes
- know how words and sentences look on a page
If children can leave pre -school with motor skills to transcribe letters and words using smooth motor control, a clear understanding of how writing is generated and the ability to hold a sentence in their head; then they are more likely to be confident writers in future years.
We know that our children need to have controlled and smooth motor movements to write. We support core strength, balance and mark making on the larger scale with our daily outdoor provision and support fine motor improvement within our daily planned finger gym activities. We teach correct pencil grip from the outset and support children with this when holding any form or writing implement, utensil, or tool.
We know that writing readiness is guided by a child’s ability to draw several pre-writing shapes as a child who can draw these shapes can copy a significantly higher number of letters than children who do not have grasp of pre-writing shapes. Therefore pre -writing activities are set up each day to support children with their smooth pre-writing patterns. We encourage our children to overwrite, copy and continue a range of pre-writing patterns. We begin with simple lines and move to more complex patterns and encourage clockwise and anti-clockwise writing. However, we include the lazy 8 movement with all children as the ability to cross the mid- line is an important aspect in both gross and fine motor control.
Zone or Proximal Development
We support our children in both their gross and fine motor movements using the zone of proximal development framework. For those children who have shaking movement and control we use ‘hand over hand’ support running alongside verbal instruction e.g. up to the top and down to the middle. When children have demonstrated that they are able to make smoother movements we then give verbal and physical instruction from a close distance, without hand over hand support, and finally progress to physical demonstration from a distance.
Text Generation and Shared Writing
Text generation is crucial for the development of early writing. We actively encourage our children to write as a result of a spontaneous event in their play or when we listen to our children in their play, and then suggest a real-life purpose for their writing. We support a child’s writing by modelling the complete writing process with them (construct the sentence or word and say aloud, hold in our head, count how many words we are using, transcribe and think about the sounds we need) and encourage each child to take over the transcription when they feel confident.
Enticing writing activities are planned twice a week to enthuse children to mark make for a purpose but we have a variety of writing resources available for children to access at all times so they can write across all aspects of the curriculum using the tools, paper and notebooks which they self-select. We teach our children how they can use the writing resources so that they are an important resource in their writing journey rather than a resource that is available but with no value.