Writing Just as Important
as Reading, Says TAMIU Professor
To further encourage children to read, parents must also encourage them to write, advises Dr. Barbara Greybeck, Texas A&M International University associate professor and chair, department of curriculum and instruction.
“Parents are usually not aware that writing is a vital component of the literacy process. Because there is so much emphasis on reading in our schools, we tend to forget about writing,” says Dr. Greybeck.
In fact, Greybeck suggests, sometimes parents and teachers are more concerned about spelling and handwriting than about how children learn to express themselves through written language.
“Since reading and writing are complimentary, children’s reading ability is enhanced through writing, just as writing is improved by exposure to books and the themes, words and concepts that children read in those books. When children begin to write, they may use phrases they have heard in children’s stories, such as ‘once upon a time.’ Books also provide children with a model for narrative structure allowing them to create their own stories and include characters, setting and plot,” Greybeck adds.
Every day experiences are important in providing children with authentic writing opportunities.
For example, Greybeck suggests children make cards for their friends’ or relatives’ birthdays, write notes to family members or make the grocery list. Parents should not spell out words for children. Instead, they should tell them to write it however they can. This way, children will begin to make connections between sound and symbol and be better prepared for reading instruction in school.
“Even in preschool, children can use invented spelling to try out their hypotheses about the written letters associated with each sound. By writing, they can develop improved awareness of phonics, so important in learning to read,” Greybeck said.
For more information, please contact Greybeck at 326.2425, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 431B.
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