Children love action and movement, but they are not always so crazy about sitting still and writing words. When 5-year-olds are made to sit at a table with a pen and paper, many fold their arms and sulk. We don’t want them to think that when writing begins fun stops.

Children write when they think it has a purpose. Don’t “assign” writing tasks as if they were homework. Instead, incorporate writing into play.

Try this: Here’s a neat trick — 5-year-olds love to pass secret notes, so slip your kindergartner a Post-It with a question on it. Do you want a Hershey’s Kiss? Your child may write: Ys! You write back: Yes, what? Your child: Yes, pees! Then you can write: Can I have a real kiss first? (Even if you have to read this aloud to your child — or he has to ask another adult for help — you’re still teaching the fun of writing and communicating in print.)

Never correct spelling and handwriting at this stage. That will come after your child learns to write words. Child specialists say “invented spelling” is just fine. Your role is to make writing fun — but did you notice how the exchange above prompted your kindergartner to learn the correct spelling of yes?

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