Writing

Righty or Lefty? Hand Dominance in Preschool

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When I was a Parent Educator, I had many families that asked about when their child would show a preference in hand domination.  I personally, am right handed.  Can't do a darn thing with my left!  My best friend from childhood is a lefty, but she could do lots of things with her right hand.  Lefties are far out-numbered, many say that we live in a right-handed world...and we probably do :)  So, when will you know which hand is your child's dominant hand?  Keep reading to find out what I've learned!

According to Marianne Gibbs from Write Out of the Box, children generally develop hand dominance between the ages of 4 and a half to 6 years of age.

So, this means that some Pre-K students may have not developed hand dominance yet.  Each student is different and it is important to embrace the differences.

As parents or teachers it is important that we do not force our hand dominance onto children.  Is the world a little easier for right-handed people (considering we are the majority)?  Yes, I suppose it is.  But, it is not appropriate to force or train your child’s hand to fit in with the majority.  We need to make sure to remember to hand children objects at their midline, or the belly button.  Even when our children are infants and we are handing them toys, try not to show a preference my handing the object to their right or left hand.

Can you imagine how frustrating it would be writing with your non-dominant hand, all because someone thought you should be right handed, when your left is where it’s at?

How do I know when my child’s hand dominance has emerged?  Well, observe them.  Do they cross their midline with a particular hand to grab something?  For example: if I were right handed and I reached to grab the salt and pepper that was to the left of me, using my right hand, I cross my midline to get the s&p.  If you see this repeatedly, chances are that the hand that is crossing the midline is their dominant hand.

Which is your dominant hand?

Encouraging Writing Through Read-Alouds

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Read Aloud time is my all-time favorite time of the day.

Maybe it is because I like to read in dramatic voices, or maybe it is because I love watching little ones fall in love with stories and authors... whatever the reason-  Read Aloud Time is very important to me!

While going through my Master's training, I learned about using reading to encourage writing.

If you stop and think about it, a read-aloud is just reading someone else's writing.

Even young children can be writers!  They can create their own stories and books through drawing and developmental writing.


Our little ones are most likely not reading themselves, but they are hearing us read.  They are gaining knowledge about text, writing and authors through us.
 

But, helping children learn about what it is to be a writer is not as simple as just reading a book to a child or class of children.
 

We teach our children how to be readers and writers through our reading alouds.
We have to remind ourselves to stop, ask questions, wonder aloud and point out not-so-obvious things to children.

What should early childhood teachers be helping children learn about authors and illustrators?  How can it be done through a read-aloud?

Check out this quick guide to help your littlest writers see their potential as story and content creators :

 
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Free Read Aloud Guide

Want to get even deeper into young children being authors?  Check out the book, Already Ready, Nurturing Young Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten by Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover.

 

How to get your Writing Center Rockin'

Writing in the Early Childhood classroom is important.

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Even though preschool writing may not look like traditional writing, it is an important part of the literacy process.

But, have you ever struggled with getting your preschoolers to go to the writing center?

Yep, me too. When given the choice, my traditional writing center with pencils, pens and paper was not too appealing when up against a sensory tub full of sand or a grocery store in the drama center.

My traditional writing center was just not cuttin' it.

The goals I had for my writing center are for children to get a writing utensil in their hand and make marks that are meaningful to them.  I want children to enjoy this experience and I want to throw a little fine motor in there too.

So, I knew- it's time to start changing it up!

My plan was to draw them into the writing center with new, exciting and different materials.  I knew that if I could draw their attention in, they would come and write- as a preschooler can- and my writing center goals would be met.

 But, what kinds of new, exciting and different materials can be added?

Here are just a few ideas:

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Start out simple...

Adding clipboards makes everything more exciting!  Clipboards are a tool children don't get to use too often, making them exciting!

Think beyond white paper...  envelopespost-it notes and index cards are also tools not available to most children on a regular basis- making them exciting and new.

Move beyond just pencils.  Ballpoint penshighlighters and smelly markers make interesting writing utensils for children to explore.



Then, start collecting more writing tools and activities...

Boogie Boards are a fun way to encourage writing, and it erases with a push of a button!

Wooly Willy is an old-school magnetic fun board.  I like it because it gets a pencil-like tool in children's hands and they make strokes to move the magnets inside.

Water Wow is a big hit in our classroom.  You fill up a tube with a paintbrush on the end.  You use the brush on the special cards- we have alphabet cards- and images and colors appear. 

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Need more ideas?

Get this free Writing Center Materials Idea List for more ideas!

Sign up for the replay of the Preschool Writing in Centers Webinar- It’s FREE!


Why We Don't Use a Sign-In Book in Preschool

Why We Don't Use a Sign-In Book in Preschool

Have you heard of the process of 'signing in' in the pre-k classroom?

When a student comes in for the day, he or she takes time to sign their name in a sign-in book or clipboard.  It is a way for children to practice writing their names each day.

Sounds good right?? Here is why we don’t use sign-in books in our preschool classroom.

Encourage the Home & School Connection with a Fine Motor Tub

Tell me something... do you happen to struggle with making meaningful home and school connections?  

A positive connection between school and families is an integral part of the success of students in the classroom.    It is important for us to try and educate parents on the needs of their preschool aged children.  When parents and educators are on the same page, a child's success can soar.