The reading - writing connection

PARENTS' CORNER

April 04, 1999

Editor's note: In her biweekly column, Jerdine Nolen today explores the link between reading and writing.

Reading and writing are intricately connected. They are different sides of the same coin. Reading and writing are very effective intellectual tools when they develop together.

Helping build the connection

When your child shows readiness, parents can:

* Write the word/letter symbols for things that interest your child.

* Show your child which letters make what sounds.

* Use index cards to label things in your home (or your child's room).

* Keep handy writing materials: pencils, markers, regular paper, fun-shaped and fun-colored paper, crayons, dictionary, thesaurus, stamps, envelopes and stationery.

* Provide a "writing" place.

* Write notes to your children.

* Talk to your child; share your experiences with her.

* Create a climate at home that is rich with words.

* When your child "writes" something, ask him to tell you what it says.

* Offer to write the story for the picture your child drew; let her tell you what is happening.

* Encourage your child's ability to write and draw a story.

* Praise your child's efforts.

* Be helpful and encouraging as your child begins to write/draw.

* Help your child form letters.

* Show your child how to take shapes from the scribbles she drew and put them with other shapes to form letters (i.e., a circle with a short line can be put together to form the letter "a").

* Show your child you enjoy writing; let him see you write.

* Encourage your child to write away for information, free samples, etc.

* Write letters often.

* Show your child how to use a journal.

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

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