Are you homeschooling and excited your child now knows their sounds, can write the letters and is even an early reader? What’s next? Writing! Writing is the next step.
As part of our Tuesday Teaching Tips series, we present our video below focusing on how to teach your child how to write a sentence. There are two parts to writing. The first part is knowing what to write: the idea! (this is very important) If you start giving your child all the ideas and not allow them to think for themselves they may become reluctant and dependant-on-you-to-help-them writers. The second part is knowing how to write the sentence without getting it all muddled in the process of writing and finger spacing and sounding out etc.
So here are my top tips summarised:
1. Talk about what the sentence may be:
– use a picture prompt or even a memory/experience of what you did on the weekend or in the morning for example. Allow your child to come up with the idea, you can help them make sense of it by formulating the grammar side of it. For example, if your child is talking about something yesterday, instead of using the past tense they are using the present tense.
2. Say your sentence out loud a few times before writing it down.
Sometimes I draw lines to represent the exact number of words in the sentence for visual clues. Then double check by asking what the 3rd letter of the sentence is, just to allow the sentence to be repeated enough number of times.
3. Start writing the sentence by saying it out loud and checking back to make sure it makes sense.
Even if your child misses out a word, let them go back and self-correct by realising it themselves. If you try to correct whilst they are writing, you may find them loosing confidence and thinking they cannot do it.
4. Use word banks or word wall
(tricky word walls for example) to help with difficult to spell words. If your child is sounding out words but the spelling is incorrect, I wouldn’t even correct it at that time when they are learning how to actually formulate a sentence or caption. Let that be the least of their worries. Poor handwriting and poor spelling can sometimes act as a deterrent for writing. That worry of not doing things correctly, can really put your child off writing.
5. Remind your child about finger spacing and ensure that becomes a habit.
I say ‘I can’t read gobbledegook!’ always makes Ammarah chuckle! You can always make a finger space buddy or a lolli stick to help too.
6. Full Stops
Introduce full stops to show the end of a sentence. I just say, “And what do we need at the end of a sentence?”
Watch the video below on how I teach the above points to Ammarah!
**You can download my Phase 3 Phonics Planning Aid including which words to teach with each sound in Phase 3 + captions/sentences for children to practise writing.**