A picture tells a thousand words. Toddlers and young kids are highly visual. They learn best through visualization of items. To get their ideas flowing there must be something visually attractive as a medium to stimulate their creative juices.
Enchanted Learning has picture prompt worksheets which one could download and print. I find it a good resource to get ideas on how to promote creative writing ideas to the kids.
Using such pictures as the bear with a fish you can get your child to
come up with 2-3 sentences describing what they see. They will slowly need to build up their ability to describe what they have seen to a 5-6 sentences long composition which they will be expected to write independently when they reach primary 1.
This is how I went about eliciting sentences from him.
* Ruffy is the name of a brown teddy bear which we have at home.
Ryan was using his prior knowledge and applied it to what he saw in the picture. I find it very important to give a child very wide exposure to different situations/circumstances so they will build up a wide and vast vocabulary which they can tap on when the need arises.
I had to help him with the spelling of the words -bear,brown,Ruffy and carrying as they were words that he is still not that familiar with. In time he should be able to spell these words independently.
We spent about 15 minutes on this exercise as it took him some time to write out the 2 sentences. Have you tried writing with your child?
The above 2 pages are from Ryan’s school books. He did it in class during the last term. His school has started on slowly introducing the kids to writing in sentences.
The way of progression
Filling in the blanks at the end of the sentence
Eg: My name is Ryan.
Filling in half the sentence
Eg: I am four years old.
Copying the whole sentence 3 times
Eg: I smell with my nose. (x3)
Through this simple exercise the kids were introduce to sentence structure and what they should be writing about given the topic-Getting to Know Myself.
It is easier to start your kid writing on topics that they are familiar with like Myself and my family as it would be easier for them to describe based on their own experience and prior knowledge.
It is also a good time to explain to them certain basic rules of capitalization- capital letters are used as the first letter of a sentence, a proper noun, or a proper adjective and for initials or abbreviations.
It is definitely beyond their ability to understand the meaning of nouns and adjectives at this stage. However to simply the grammar rules to them I tell Ryan that he should use only uppercase at the start of each sentence and the 1st alphabet to his name instead of writing everything in uppercase as he does now.
To him he feels that it is ‘cool’ to WRITE EVERYTHING IN UPPERCASE but it is not the proper way to write. Writing in uppercase is normally used to highlight a point and not done for fun. Well I guess I will have to slowly correct this ‘mistake ‘ of his. 🙂
Tune in to the next post where I share the resources I use to elicit sentences.