Alexandra shares an excellent activity that can be used by parents and teachers alike.
My name is Alexandra Berube, I am a former Kindergarten teacher and continue to tutor students in K-8th grade, in all subject areas and test preparation.
When children are beginning to understand that letters carry meaning, they will use one or two letters to convey an idea--usually the first letter and/or the last. It is very tiring for children to try to write long ideas if this is their current skill capacity.
Children love to draw, whether it’s representational (“That’s a tree with a rainbow”), or symbolic/action-based (“That’s how I run around and that’s where I jump from...”). If you give them a comic book template (blank squares side by side, large enough that they can draw in each one), they can ‘write’ out their story.
Once they’ve drawn in each square, they can narrate what’s happening. Depending on their ability, you can either write for them, sounding it out as you go (modeling); you can help them sound out key words and then write the other words yourself; or you can help them sound out all the words to their best ability of invented spelling.
This builds meaning into the process of writing, because it serves the purpose of narrating their story. Young children often forget what they are trying to write about as they go, because they are so focused on the letters. This gives them the chance to first put down their story in pictures, and then write the best they can without losing their idea.