Receptive linguistic skills always precede productive ones, i.e., listening comes before speaking; reading comes before writing. So if your child isn’t reading independently yet, he or she isn’t likely writing with ease either.
But that doesn’t mean pre-readers aren’t bursting to tell their own stories. Here’s how to help children at this stage open the tap so that their creative juices can flow…
Draw it out. I find that kids of this age prefer to tell their stories in pictures. So, offer your young authors some clean paper and fresh markers or colored pencils, and have them draw their stories out first. Be warned, this could go on for days and pages. But once out, they will be ready to “read” their story.
Speak it out. Ask if they would like you to write their story down as they tell it. You’ll want to check first whether it’s okay to write directly on their pictures, or if they’d prefer that you draft their story on a separate piece of paper.
You wouldn’t want to spoil their art and stop the creative flow!
Write it out. As they dictate, write exactly what they express, grammar errors and all. It’s their story.
If they get stuck, ask leading questions to move them along, like: “And then what happened?” “What did she say?” “How did he know that?” This will help to model story structure and organization as well as the linear flow of ideas.
Be careful in this drafting phase to accept their ideas and words, as delivered.
Don’t try to insert your own ideas. That will only end in tears of frustration, and block their creative flow. It may also bring an end to their motivation all together.
Also, write neatly, in block letters, and alternate each written line with a blank one. This way, it will be easier for them to read in the next phase of the process...