How to teach children to write. Stages in the learning of writing – second part

The second stage: writing from dictation

Writing from dictation is obviously more difficult than copying symbols, as there are many intervening factors, all of which are necessary for the achievement of a good result.

In later stages, from age 6, children are taught to write as dictated.

This time, there is no visual symbol any more, so the relation between sound and image becomes important. The child will only rely on a phonic symbol, and he needs to be able to distinguish what he hears (each individual sound), to transform the sounds into letters and reproduce them on the paper, placing them in the same order in which they were uttered.

It is essential for the child to have:

  • A good auditory capacity, in order to hear and distinguish the sounds.
  • Auditory memory, to remember what he heard and the order in which the sounds came out.
  • Visual memory, to be able to recognize the graphical symbol of the letter associated with a particular sound.
  • Adequate and satisfactory fine motility, to reproduce the symbols that have been drafted in mind.

From this moment on, comprehensive reading becomes a great help in encouraging writing. So far, the child has done well in school because he was not required to do more than to copy by hand or to associate sounds and letters when reading. However, now appears the ability to make mental representations and it usually coincides with the shift to primary school, at the age of 6. At this age, we start to see that children display fluid learning in both reading and writing, and that some of them start to get ahead of their peers.

The third stage: free or spontaneous writing

Finally, we must practice children’s ability to write spontaneously, which is considered free writing in that it doesn’t rely on auditory symbols or, at least, not on symbols that are external to the children themselves. In this case, the child writes what he represents mentally, what he imagines. This skill starts developing at the beginning of primary school, and becomes more and more complex with each passing year. As a result, children are then able to write essays, answer open-ended questions, or make projects.

If the ability to write down thoughts freely and fluently does not develop, all these activities we talked about will be more difficult. Then, the child will begin to be discouraged by the enormous effort he has to make to solve school tasks. This difficulty can thus lead to some delays in learning.