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Teach Kids Writing to Boost Reading Skills

Updated on August 30, 2012

Reading and writing are connected and are really just two different ways of learning about the same thing. The reciprocity of early reading and early writing ensures that when children are learning to write words, messages, and stories, they are also learning to read and vice versa. For instance, when a child learns to write the word cat they are also setting themselves up to recognize it in reading. It also provides the child with important knowledge to make analogies to similar words i.e. rat or hat. Writing, like reading, involves paying close attention to the formation of letters and words. It involves identifying letter and word patterns, and also involves reinforcement of left-to-right directionality and other concepts of print. In order to help young children learn about reading skills it is important not to overlook writing as an essential piece of the puzzle.

Important Writing Strategy for Children!

When attempting to write a word or letters ensure that children articulate the sounds clearly to themselves. Say the word slowly is a good prompt to assist children with this strategy. You can model the sound and correct articulation for them but children must be taught to say words slowly, so they can hear them-self say the sounds. Also, ensure children say the words completely in order to hear ending sounds.

How Writing Helps Reading

Even scribbles, reverse letters, and invented spelling will give a great deal of information for discovering what children already know about print. The information is also very useful for instructing children to take next steps in their learning. Writing helps children consider many aspects of print which can be applied in their reading.

  • Writing helps children learn to analyze print from left to right.
  • Writing left to right helps to train the eyes to scan words in reading.
  • Writing forces learners to attend to the features and forms of letters as well as the importance of letter sequence.
  • Writing words aids the development of phonemic awareness skills and letter identification.
  • Writing helps children develop eye hand coordination.
  • Writing provides a means for understanding the purpose of print.
  • Writing forces children to organize their thoughts and words to convey a printed message.


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How to Help Children Write

In order to help children take steps in their learning, it is important to notice their understanding of print by observing writing/picture samples. There is a large spectrum of knowledge and understanding children will exhibit for letter knowledge and concepts of print. It is important to identify what a child knows and support what they need to know next. For instance, if a child is having difficulty holding a crayon then their next step might be some hand-over-hand instruction to address this skill. In the same way, if a child is printing a letter backwards then exploring the visual form of the letter and practicing to print it correctly is a good place to start. The following is a list of ways to support early learners with writing skills.

  • Hold a pencil correctly.
  • Slide their finger across a page to show the left to right direction of print.
  • Show children where to go next when they slide their finger to the end of the page (return sweep).
  • Organize ideas on a page with pictures and words.
  • Print and form letters correctly.
  • Say words slowly in order to hear the individual sounds.
  • Sequence letters in a word.
  • Hear and identify the first and last letters in a word.
  • Notice the difference in capital and lowercase letters and learn to print both.
  • Write sentences and point to the words when reading them over together.
  • Cut up a simple sentence into words and practice putting it in order.
  • Use pictures to retell a story and sequence the events.

The Reading and Writing Connection

When reading stories with young children it is helpful to make them aware of the connection between the print they see in books and writing. If the child can print the letter b, then finding it in a book to confirm what it looks like is a fun way to reinforce letter identification. It is also useful to reinforce directionality when reading by having children slide their finger under a line of text. The skills that are learned in writing can be reinforced in reading and vice versa. This close connection makes writing an important part of helping early learners develop into successful readers.


Fun Writing Tools

A stamp set will provide hours of fun message creating. The messages that children create with the stamps provides opportunity to learn about letter sounds and print. Older children love to use them for those special touches to school projects.


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    • profile image

      Andrea Chouhan 5 years ago

      I enjoyed the information that you wrote about here. As a Kindergarten and Special Education teacher, I also have explored the topic of writing. Some kids are just so bad at it. Feel free to read my article that focuses on how to help young children become better at writing and pre-writing:

    • profile image

      Bob Rose 5 years ago

      Most importantly, as we have scientifically shown, the ability to fluently (more than 40 letters per minute) write the alphabet imparts the ability to mentally envision correctly spelled written words, and thereby render them familiar and leading to "spontaneous" literacy. For an MS Word 3-page file describing our experimental proof of this, email Bob at

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      Learning to write the alphabet happens as children explore the purpose of writing in meaningful activities. There is a very large number of skills beyond writing letters spontaneously that need to be developed. Comprehension and thinking skills need to be fostered as part of the process for acquiring letter knowledge in reading and writing. Phonemic awareness is also critical and learning to blend and segment sounds requires explicit teaching beyond identifying and writing them.

    • profile image

      Bob Rose 5 years ago

      If kids in K-1 learn to write the alphabet at minimum rate of 40 letters per minute, they learn to read "spontaneously", and awareness of this will reform eduction.

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      In my opinion using a cup up sentence with young children is so beneficial for reinforcing many reading strategies i.e. meaning, structure, and visual information. Kids also like the activity because it is tactile and they see it like a puzzle game. I appreciate you stopping by to share your comment Rhonda.

    • profile image

      Rhoda( 5 years ago

      I especially love the arranging cut up words in order to make a simple sentence. You should see how my children light up when they discover they could make that all up. Good stuff on the reading and writing connection.

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      Thanks for your enthusiasm for this topic teaches12345! Writing is such an important part of literacy development. Thanks for reinforcing the importance of this skill for early learners. Your comments are always greatly appreciated!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You know that I love this one, Sturgeonl! What a great lesson on writing. You have made it simple to understand and your examples reinforce the lesson. Voted way up!

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      Working with magnetic letters and stamps help children learn about writing beyond what they can produce on their own. Also, writing on a variety of different surfaces i.e. in the sand, with fingerpaint, etc. is a wonderful tactile way to reinforce letters and words. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment PhoebePike. Happy reading and writing with your little one!

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      A very interesting and informative hub. My little one is learning to read, so I am still trying to teach him to write. Though drawing has never been an issue.


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