As we encourage our children to begin writing, does it matter what the medium is? Do they need to put pencil to paper or should we be offering more modern options, if that’s what they’re more interested in?
As well as setting up lots of invitations to write using our easel, B’s been enjoying using a laptop to write some stories. She sees a whole world of difference between a sheet of paper and a screen. Although using the laptop gives no opportunity for practicing handwriting or pencil grip, it can entice reluctant writers to dream up a story, have a try at spelling and structure sentences.
How to use a laptop for literacy
Here’s how we use the laptop for literacy
:: Step one is to get some ideas down. If we worry about correct spellings too much we stall in the first couple of words. Instead, we have a blast at getting some sentences down while the ideas are fresh, and then go back and edit.
:: We switch off the spelling and grammar check, so we can use our brains to try and spot anything we’d like to correct.
:: Then we switch the spelling and grammar check back on to see if there is anything we missed, and chat together about what we need to correct. (You’ll want to check you’re set for UK/US English, as appropriate to you.)
:: As a final flourish, we like to copy and paste in a few pictures to illustrate our story ( but of course you’ll need to supervise any Googling for images, just in case you discover something you didn’t really intend on finding.)
Taking literacy online
Are you making use of other online ways for your children to communicate? Mr. Waller’s Orange Class tweeted their way through their Year 2 class last year, sending out 140 character messages to let the world know what project they were working on and what they’d enjoyed at playtime. Their twitter stream was protected, and you had to request their permission to follow them, which is a measure you might like to adopt if you’re setting up a twitter account for your kids.
And have you discovered 280daily, an online diary system, which limits you to an entry of 280 characters a day? It’s free to use and unlike Twitter the entries can be read by you only. I like it as a way to capture our days in a short snappy post. For kids who love technology, and are overwhelmed by a big, blank piece of paper, it can be a great way to get them started on journaling.
What do you think about moving literacy online?
Are your kids tweeting or blogging? Got any other online ideas to recommend? Or have you made a decision that pencil and paper is still the best way to go?