Learning to read and write is a powerful experience in part because it opens opportunity for creativity, imagination, and communication. Recently, coloring has become a big thing for both boys and what started out as a simple activity has become one of the most meaningful literacy experiences in our house.
Like many households our day-to-day schedule can be a bit hectic and it is compounded by the fact that my husband has a lengthy commute to work each day. The unexpected twist to the recent interest in coloring began when Big A started leaving his artwork for Daddy. Each finished piece was hung with pride on Daddy's office door as a display of the day's work. Most days my husband leaves before the boys wake in the morning and he returns after bedtime. Big A was very eager to know what Daddy thought of his artwork, which prompted the start of a letter exchange.
For approximately the past month Big A has received a letter each morning that shares enthusiasm for his artwork and also discusses ideas such as plans for the day, questions about upcoming events, and general sentiments of affection. Receiving a letter the morning has created a wonderful energy each morning and even encouraged Big A to start labeling his artwork and writing simple notes of his own. We know that when knowledge-building is given a meaningful content a deeper learning opportunity is created. The notion that this literacy exchange formed so organically only intensifies it's meaning for Big A.
The summer months are a wonderful time to start a literacy exchange in your home and creating such a project can be as simple as the following...
- Pick A Focus - for younger children this can be through drawing pictures and for slightly older children can include shadow writing.
- Make Responses Accessible - this can include underlining high frequency words a preschooler or kindergartener might know (underlining them is a great way to cue the child they are familiar with the word) and for younger children can include symbols or pictures in the text.
- Have Fun! Your child is likely to feel empowered by their new independence for reading and writing (even if it is assisted). Celebrate with them and further their love of literacy through this important connection you will have together.