It is common practice to teach reading alongside writing, but the reality is that children are capable of learning to how read FAR before learning how to write. That being said, teaching writing AFTER children learn how to read is a great way to reinforce reading.
Ages and Stages
I have noticed that my children have been interested and capable of writing in very different ways and at very different ages. Learning how to hold a writing utensil requires special fine motor skills that take lots of time to develop. I think it’s good to introduce children to writing at a young age if they are interested, but I wouldn’t force it.
- Toddlers – Use fat crayons and markers and encourage any kind of markings on a page. I love writing words and pictures, and my 2.5 year old son Julian LOVES coloring over them. My daughter Ophelia (now just 4), never really cared for crayons or markers, but she has always loved painting.
- Preschool – Start introducing a pencil and model the correct way to hold it, but don’t push it. Start practicing lines, shapes, and letter formation. Let your child watch you as you draw and color. Provide lots of opportunities for coloring, and make it fun!
- Kindergarten – Practice making letters and start writing words.
These hand drawn resources are basically my ABC resources without the color. I created this font by hand then imported it into Gimp where I cleaned it up and digitized it. I wanted to make my own font because I wanted to teach children how to read letters the way we typically write letters. I also wanted to be able to color in my letters. Feel free to use these resources liberally for your own personal use.
If you are going to be making these, I highly recommend getting the following supplies:
- Printer – A good basic printer like this will do the job, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of printing, I would recommend something like this.
- Card Stock – I like to make sure I always have plenty of this around for all of my flashcards, posters, and other needs.
- Three Hole Punch – This hole punch is really sturdy and can handle a whole stack of paper.
- 1/4 Inch Rings – When making flashcards, I have found it’s best to use two rings on top to keep everything organized and easy to flip through, and this size is best.
To Make the Flashcards
- Print – Print on card stock.
- Cut – Use a paper cutter to cut the words apart.
- Hole Punch – Put the cards in order and then put two holes in the top. I like to angle each corner into the three hole punch and can do several cards at once with my heavy duty hole puncher.
- Rings – I like using the 1/4″ rings to attach the cards together.
To Make the Coloring Page
- Print – Print on card stock. *You can also bring a digital version into a print store like Kinkos and they can enlarge it to a poster size.
- *Enlarge – You can bring a digital version into a print store like Kinkos and they can enlarge it to a poster size.
ABC Coloring Page
After children have learned their letter names and letter sounds, coloring them in will reinforce this skill. You can print out this coloring page, and have your child color over it or color it in using crayons, pencils, markers, or paint. When coloring with your child, it can be fun to color your own page while sitting next to him or her. This way, your child will be able to see how you do things like hold a writing utensil, stay in the lines, and choose what to color. Make sure you “think aloud” to tell your child what you’re thinking while you’re doing it.
Get a PDF of the poster here: ABC Black and White Coloring Page
ABC Coloring Flashcards
These one sided flashcards are a great way to reinforce letter names, letter sounds, and to introduce children to writing. You can print out one set and let your child scribble in it however he or she chooses, and then you can print out another set to color in yourself or color together. Your child will enjoy watching you color, and it’s fun to have a personalized set of flashcards. You could even laminate them when you’re done!
Get a PDF of the flashcards here: ABC Black and White Flashcards
Being a teacher-mom, I have been exposed to a TON of resources. The ones I link to below are simply the best of the best and have been a HUGE help as I’ve been teaching my little ones about writing. (*Note: These are affiliate links, which means that I will make a commission if you purchase them from these links. Your price, however, will stay the same.)
- Priddy Books Wipe Clean Resources – I have tried several different wipe clean books, and these are my favorite! Although it comes with it’s own marker, you’ll want to get some Expo dry erase markers and an eraser that can be easily wiped away.
- Handwriting Without Tears – These books are hands down the best handwriting books I have ever seen. They are simple, easy to follow, and really fun for kids to use.
- Kumon – These books are great because they group letters into the types of lines and shapes needed to make them.
- My First Book of Mazes – Mazes are a SUPER fun way for little ones to get excited about writing.
- Grow to Know Uppercase Letters (Pre-K)
- My First Book of Uppercase Letters
- Tracing Lowercase Letters
- Grow to Know Lowercase Letters (Pre-K)
- My First Book of Lowercase Letters
- My Book of Writing Words: Learning About Consonants and Vowels
- Grow to Know Numbers 1-30 (Pre-K)
- My Book of Numbers
- The Measured Mom Handwriting Resources – This mom knows how to teach, and she has created some amazing (and FREE) resources that are great for teaching your little ones handwriting.
- Letter Tracing Apps – While letter tracing apps won’t teach pencil control, they will help to familiarize children with how to form letters. These are the apps my children have enjoyed.
- Writing Wizard – This app is whimsical, fun, and easy to navigate.
- Little Writer: The Tracing App for Kids – I love the simplicity of this app and my kids really enjoy it too!
- Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try for Capitals, Numbers & Lowercase – This app simulates a slate chalkboard with double lines and is a great supplement to go along with the physical books.
- abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words – This app is great for little ones who are still learning their letter names and sounds.
- Dora’s Skywriting app – In Dora’s ABCs: Volume 1 app, children can trace letters in the sky.
I LOVE Usborne books! The pages are super durable, the stories are interesting, the vocabulary development is phenomenal, and the people and Usborne GET reading. They know that children should start young…I’m talking babies…and provide PLENTY of resources to get your little ones interested in reading.
- Wipe-Clean Resources – Usborne has a TON of wipe clean activity books that you can look through. Wipe clean books are a great way for child to reinforce skills in a repetitive and fun way.
- Beginning Pen Control – Before children can learn to write they need lots of practice with pen control, and this book provides plenty of opportunities. They can complete the various activities again and again, using the special wipe-clean pen provided. Includes mazes, dot-to-dots, things to draw and more.
- Wipe-Clean Alphabet – This fun book is perfect way for young children to reinforce what they’ve learned about letters while learning how to write.
- Wipe Clean Alphabet Cards – These alphabet cards are another great way to reinforce letter names and sounds.
- Wipe-Clean 123 – Learning to write numbers is right up there with learning to write letters, and this book provides great practice.
- Get Ready for School Wipe-Clean Activity Pack – This pack covers writing letters, numbers, common words, and comes in a neat carrying case with a handle.
- Wipe-Clean Dinosaur Activities – If your child is interested in dinosaurs, this would be a great resource to practice writing. There are lots of other interest-based resources as well.
- Wipe-Clean Dot to Dot – Dot to dots are a great way to learn about drawing and writing because the lines are short and controlled.
The idea that children should be learning how to read the ABCs while learning how to write the ABCs is just absurd. Children are capable of learning how to read at a very young age, but the fine motor skills required to master handwriting take quite some time to develop. If children learn about letter names and sounds, how to memorize words, vocabulary, how to sound out words, and more complex phonemic awareness before learning about writing, it makes learning about writing the singular focus which is far less overwhelming for children.
Check out all of the blogs in my reading series:
- How to Introduce Your Baby to Reading
- Learning the Alphabet Lays the Foundation for Reading
- Memorizing Words is What Good Readers Do
- Building Vocabulary with Colors, Numbers, and Shapes
- Phonemic Awareness Leads to Reading Success
- Teaching Phonics with Three Letter Words
- Encouraging Children to Read Independently
- Reinforcing Reading with Writing