There's something magical about children's writing. Maybe it's the simple illustrations or the creative spelling of words. Or maybe it's the unexplainable way that five-year-olds can turn embarrassing family stories about burned Thanksgiving turkeys into funny, treasured memories.
When I taught kindergarten, I particularly loved watching my students move through the first two stages of writing. They began by drawing pictures. They could make a sun, sand, and ocean waves perfectly capture their family trip to the beach. And then something clicked and they would begin adding letters and words to their illustrations. Teachers call this "labeling" and seeing it for the first time always made parents beam with pride.
My favorite way to introduce labeling to children is this entertaining post-it game that I affectionately call "Stick It!" It's become a family favorite in our house.
To play, my oldest son and I brainstormed body parts and wrote the name of each one on Post-Its. I drew a simple picture to help him remember the word that was written.
Then I told my son that he was going to label his body by sticking the Post-Its in the right spot. It helped to point out the picture clues I drew so that he learned how to "read" the Post-Its on his own. We played until all of the Post-Its had been attached to the correct body part.
We played the game several times and then I invited my son to "write" a story of his own by drawing a picture of a recent family event. He chose to draw our morning walk to the park.
When he was finished with his illustration, I explained that writers label their pictures just like he used the Post-Its to label his body. I helped him add a couple of labels to his picture (a tree, his bike).
If your child is able, she could write on her own using anything from a single letter to chunks of several letters. Whatever she writes down is worth celebrating. Labeling shows that your child is taking her next step in writing. My son's smile says it all. "Stick It" is a must-try activity!