There is a strong connection between learning to read and learning to write. Being able to write a word will clearly help a child to read that word. In a more general sense, writing down things they want to say and then reading them to someone, helps children to appreciate that writing is for communicating ideas.
Given the opportunity, most children start to enjoy scribbling with crayons and pencils while still toddlers. They often want to "read" to you what they have "written". This shows that they are already beginning to grasp the idea that squiggles on a page can tell you something and that there is a relationship between talking and writing.
By the age of four, most children are capable of writing some letters, usually those that appear in their own name. At five, most children are ready to start copying words. As their pencil control increases, their writing will gradually improve. Do remember that neatness in handwriting has nothing to do with intelligence and that too much insistence on it may constrain what a child has to say. It is important however, to develop legible handwriting. If, after two or three years of practice, your child’s handwriting remains very poor, discuss with the child’s teacher.
It does not matter whether your child uses pencils, crayons or felt pens to write with… but do check that whatever the child uses, he/she is holding it correctly. It is easy to develop bad writing habits by starting with the wrong grip. They should be held lightly between the thumb and the first finger (pointer), about 1 inch from the point as a rough estimate.
It takes a lot of practice to develop sufficient pencil control to write legible letters. Activities such as drawing, tracing, colouring, using chalks or paints, and copying or making up patterns can all contribute significantly to this process.
Many children start by writing some letters and numbers backwards, especially "b" and "d"… 2, 3 and 7… or even produce superb mirror writing. Six and seven year olds, often continue to do this. It is something that nearly puts itself right in time, but try to point out the mistake and gently suggest correcting it.
Our elder girl used to write superb mirror writing around age five… and knowing all the terminologies used for such children (dyslexic) and how we ARE in the industry, I must admit… it was panic attack! We were kinda hard on her at first, until i really sat down to think how to positively tackle this situation. As constructive as possible… So we all played letter games, did crafts and also painting activities to motivate her to write the proper way. It was a few months phase.. of correcting and of encouraging.. And now she not only writes properly, she also writes beautifully..
A minor percentage of children are left-handed. Of this group, some are ambidextrous, that is… they can use both hands. In the past, all children even those who were strongly left-handed, were trained to use their right hand for writing. In some cases, this is thought to have caused stammering. It is now understood that children should be allowed to choose which hand is best for them. If however, they can use both… it is sensible to choose one dominant hand and stick to it. Otherwise, it can get confusing.
Writing with the left hand is not easy because it entails a pushing movement – right-handed people use a pulling movement. A right-handed person’s hand moves along the page leaving visible what has just been written. Two simple solutions help to overcome this problem…
Get the child to hold his pencil a little further from the end than you would for a right-handed child.
Position the writing paper at an angle 45 degrees to the child’s body.
Special 3-sided pencil grips can be bought rather cheaply. These make the pen or pencil fatter and easier to grip and can help a left-handed child to write more quickly and with much less effort.
In the early stages of reading, children often like to point to the words in the book. A left-handed child is better off using a strip of card or a ruler, to place under the words and sentences.