Thursday, 9 August 2012

Stoking the fire

My son has always had fantastic stories to share.  As proud parents, we love to tell others about the time he was 18 months old and dragged out his Lego box, only to flip it over and stand on top of it and babble out a story.  His first soap box!  Later, at the age of 5, he walked to the front of a room of about 150 people and told a story about how the frost killed our garden.  I've said to him more than once that he has great stories to share.

His love of writing is...less enthusiastic. Maybe because it takes so much longer to write out a story than to simply tell it.  Maybe because there was an expectation in school to learn cursive writing, and for him, that simply takes even longer (right now).  Maybe because of his past experiences with hating it when someone corrected his spelling.  He never was the type, when he was in school, to ask how to spell words.  He would do them as phonetically correct as possible and be done with it. 

Lately, I've found him asking more often how to spell words.  When he asks, my usual response is, "How does it sound like it should be spelled?", with a nice tone of voice, of course!  He'll spell it out as best he can, and if he's correct, I offer praise.  If it's a little off, I simply tell him he's pretty close, and then offer the correct spelling.  If I can think of a story or easy way to remember a spelling rule, then I'll throw that in for good measure too.

And, also lately, I've seen that he can do a remarkable job spelling longer words.  I suspect it is because he sees these more complex words in the books he's been devouring.  Hooray for Guardians of Ga'Hoole!

And what, exactly, has he been writing?  Well, a few weeks ago it was a letter to Santa!  Tonight, he started writing out a routine schedule for himself on the computer.  Tomorrow, we may start getting our address books ready so we can send postcards and letters while we're on vacation.  And I foresee many more opportunities in the weeks ahead, if he is willing.  But we'll get there when we get there.  In the meantime, I hope his forays into the written world feel safe and enjoyable and will gently move him towards exploring a whole other world of self-expression.    

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