The Relationship Between Writing & Literacy

Writing and literacy are two subjects which are deeply intertwined; so much so that success at one depends entirely on the success of the other. Becoming a strong writer requires the development of two particular literacy skills representative of a strong reader: print awareness and reading comprehension. A child cannot write without first being able to read and recognize the purpose of writing. This is why both writing skills, as well as literacy skills, tend to develop at the same rate—during a child’s early to middle childhood, usually between the ages of 6 and 11 years old. Essentially, possessing strong writing abilities correlates directly with having strong reading abilities, although, interestingly, the inverse is not always true.

Print Awareness Impacts Writing Ability

Writing and literacy skills develop simultaneously in most children during the first or second-grade. Since writing and reading are so linked, a child cannot begin to write with intention until they understand what words do. The path to that understanding lies with print awareness. Awareness of the written word is very important because it allows a child to explore the various purposes of writing. For example, the more a child is exposed to text in the real world such as advertisements on billboards, menus in restaurants, or even to-do lists on the fridge, the more a child is able to recognize printed text can hold different meanings.

Easily practice this skill by pointing out the signage on your favorite family restaurant. Or take care to notice the printed text on your child’s favorite brand of food next time you are at the grocery store. This is how a child realizes that print holds meaning and conveys clear messages. Once they understand that writing serves to communicate messages, learning how to write will be more exciting and less difficult.

Reading Comprehension Produces Strong Writing

Reading comprehension is a literacy skill which plays a vital role in becoming a successful writer. Children who actively work on developing their reading comprehension skills by learning new vocabulary and practicing their spelling skills will have an easier time when it comes to writing. After all, a child who does not understand the meaning behind a word cannot be expected to then write logically about it. Help develop these important skills by reading frequently with your child and encouraging them to participate in fun spelling and vocabulary activities.

Be The Example

It is natural for a strong love of reading to lead to a strong aptitude for writing. Luckily, it is also natural for a child to begin developing these passions at a young age simply through observation and imitation. Everyone has heard the phrase that children are like sponges; it is quite common for a child to first learn about reading and writing simply by observing and imitating their teachers and parents.

The challenge is in nurturing these passions; allowing them to develop into full-fledged skills which can then lead to academic success. So next time you are writing a note to a friend or making a grocery list, allow your child to watch and encourage them to participate by signing their name or adding their favorite food. In addition, give your children access to the writing tools they need to develop their abilities such as paper, markers, and crayons. These are all great tools and activities which will have a positive impact on literacy for your child.
Learn more about why childhood literacy is so important in today’s world.

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