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Monday, August 22, 2011

book review:: the write start

I recently received a copy of The Write Start: A guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories, by Jennifer Hallissy. Boy, I wish I had this book when my kids were younger. It is packed with great information and projects to support your children's emerging writing skills.

Hallissy is a pediatric occupational therapist, so she offers a different perspective on writing than many of the more creativity driven books in my library. She spends the first third of the book explaining the stages children go through when they are learning to write. She insists that skills like learning to hold a pencil and  positioning paper correctly as well as sitting in a properly sized chair are paramount to becoming efficient writers. Efficient writers, then go on to become quicker note takers, better focused students, and more productive writers.

The real meat of the book is the 52 projects that make up the rest of the book. The  projects are simple ideas that promote a writing rich home. Some are classics, like making mail, playing restaurant and diary writing. But others are more unique. How about keeping track of your finances (real or fantastically imagined) in a real ledger? Or making a simple score board for back yard games? I am particularly interested in making a big dry erase thought bubble to play around with and writing words with cooked spaghetti. Each activity helpfully comes with notes on the four stages of writers, so you can adjust and know what to expect based on your child's level. There are also resource and tool lists as well as a link to a website where you can print off the many well made templates that she uses through out the book.

If you have or work with young children, this is an essential book to have on your shelf. It inspires parents to take time to explore and play with words with their children.

For the rest of the week, I will be posting some very simple activities that promote literacy, particularly learning the alphabet.

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