Nurture a love of writing.
Teach children to write by simply talking and writing with them after they draw. Drawing motivates a child to practice and actually helps develop their writing skills.
Here's how we do it:
Visual and Verbal
Ask the child to tell you about their drawing. Prompt them with questions, such as, "Who is throwing the ball?" "Who is the boy with the bat?" "The fence looks familiar—where is he playing?"
Some children rarely speak, while others may be very vocal. Talking about a drawing can help both. The quiet child's drawing may become the foundation for a conversation. The talkative child's drawing can be used to help guide and focus their verbal skills.
Making the Connection
Demonstrate that the letters people make on paper are the words we speak. Sitting beside the child, ask them to TELL you about their drawing. As they tell you, WRITE their words down, then READ their words back to them, pointing to the words as you read.
Show them how to write their name.
As the child shares their drawing, show them how to make and pronounce the first letter of the subjects in the drawing. So, if they have drawn a bird, write the letter "b" while pronouncing the letter. You might even add "fl" for "flying." (Include blended letters, like “th”, "br" "wh".)
Use lower case letters—that's what they will use the most.
Plain paper is fine—there is no need to use guideline paper at this stage.
When the child shows you their drawing, choose a word and show them how to correctly form and pronounce each letter in a word. "Here's how to write the word "ball"—b-a-l-l."
Spacing—explain that letters are grouped together in a word.
Plain paper is fine.
After drawing a picture, demonstrate how to write a short sentence, such as “We like to play ball.” Highlight the basic parts of a sentence:
- The first letter of the first word in a sentence is a capital letter.
- Spaces separate words.
- A period is at the end of the sentence.
Introduce guideline or lined paper.
Copy Work, Practice
Practice writing two to four short sentences. The sentences can be about their drawing or they can write a memory verse. They are simply copying sentences.
Draw Write Now lessons have four short sentences. The sentences may be changed, but keep them short and simple. The focus is practicing their handwriting skills, not vocabulary, composition or spelling.
Have the child critique their work.
- Ask them to choose their best letters or words.
- Point out things they can improve.
There's no need to erase and do over, it is simply a time to become aware for the next time they practice.
Is the child reluctant to practice writing? Work for success, but push them a bit. If you know they can write one sentence, have them write two short sentences. Lesson to lesson, increase the amount of writing.
Use the coloring time as an incentive — remind them that you’ll bring out the crayons (or color pencils, watercolors, etc.) after the sentences are finished.
Telling a Story
Encourage the child to write about their drawing. Oftentimes, their background drawing will prompt them to write.
This is not a time to stress careful handwriting! It is not spelling or vocabulary-time. Let them write. Allow them to focus on their thoughts, story and ideas.
Does the child love to write, but spelling or grammar needs some refining? After writing and reading their story, help them select a few sentences. Correct any spelling or grammar errors in those sentences.
EXTRA: Have them copy those few corrected sentences onto a fresh sheet of paper using their best handwriting.
Grammar or Spelling
Ask the child to write all the nouns in their drawing (boy, bird, fence, grass, ball.)
Another time, have them write all the verbs (fly, hit, swing, stand, look, throw) or all the adjectives (fast, sunny, happy, green.)
Words that are spelled incorrectly can be added to a spelling list to practice later.
Have the child write a paragraph about the subject in their drawing.
- Introduce the subject. (The boy loves playing baseball.)
- Write several sentences to support the introductory sentence. (The first pitch was thrown. He swung and the ball went far into the outfield. He ran so fast around the bases.)
- Write a closing sentence restating the first sentence. (He wants to play baseball every day of his life.)
Here's how one mom teaches: she brings out the Draw Write Now set of books, announce the theme, such as “spring." Her three boys flip through the books, each choosing a drawing that makes them think of spring—a rabbit, a bird and a boat. They draw their pictures, using it and the springtime context as the prompt for their paragraph.