Your Three-Year-Old Can Write, part 2: Examples

We’ve established the fact that teaching writing to your children from an early age is important. Today, I’d like to give you a few examples of what my young brothers write about, and how your youngsters can write too.

Your Three-Year-Old Can Write, part 2: Examples

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/Efraimstochter | License: CC0 1.0

Tip #1: Ask Them to Tell You About a Recent Experience

Sometimes, a story can spring from a simple life experience. In the following story, my brother was telling what he saw when we went to visit a local zoo called Willowbank.

We going to Willowbank and we go into the office. We see eels at Willowbank. I see ducks. I feed ducks bread. They ate it all gone. The monkey was going up to the branch and up to another one branch, one, two branches. That long branch! There were chickens in the chicken pen. —J, two and a half years old

Tip #2: Write Down Their Imagined Stories

Sometimes, my brother will come through with a story to tell to whoever will listen to him. This was a product of one of those occasions—when Mom was able to write it down. Obviously, she did not edit—she just wrote it as he told her. Right now, it may not make a whole lot of sense—but it will definitely be fun to read in years to come!

A man was taking a walk with his dog and he was walking on the road with his dog and he was going to motels and he was going into motels watching motel clean the living room up with the vacuum and vacuum his garden up and taking a walk with his dog and the daddy dog died and humongous bushes and there was a lion in the bushes. —N, three years old

Just for fun, here’s another example:

I was walking through the woods one day. A bear jumped out of the forest, and I speared it. I had flint and steel in my pocket, and I started a fire. I had forked sticks up on top so I could dry the meat and the skin. I made metal forked sticks out of flat sticks of steel. And I had that bear for my tea. It tasted like cow meat.

I went out diving one day, and speared a shark. I had a string so I could tie it onto the tail. I pulled it to shore. Then I speared a seal. I chucked it into the sea, and the other sharks ate it. I washed my hands, and I went back to the forest.

Another bear jumped out at me. I was dragging the whale still. I speared the bear, and I put it in my small freezer. It wasn’t very small. I chopped off feet. I was close to a sea. I chucked them in the sea, and the sharks ate them. —J, four and a half years old

Tip #3: Let Them Tell About Their Daily Life!

In this next example, my brother reiterated his daily life. Obviously, this was how he said it then–fun to compare with how he talks now.

… Sheep is going in paddocks when I chase them. I chase your cow, Mom. I chase Mom’s cows when they go in cow’s water. I go home. I am sweating over the place. I go in the house. Daddy is coming home after lunch. When I come I eat glue. … I can taste really good. I not taste it. I go to the pen and wait for the boys to get done getting the cows. When they come they go running. They go running lot of times. They scream. —J, two and a half years old

Tip #4: Ask Them What They’d Like to Write About

In the following example, my brother asked to watch a video about lions. Mom found one on Youtube for him, and he based this piece on that.

I want to write about lions. They jump. And they jump onto the rocks. They eat animals. They save baby lions. They play with little lions. They sleep a lot and baby lions sleep a lot. They eat giraffes and zebras. And kill animals. —N, three years old

Tip #5: Encourage the Different Forms of Writing They May Choose

This poem was not an assignment at all—my brother just decided to make his story into a poem of sorts. Definitely something you want to encourage if you see your child wants to do something like this!

Pick up trash.
Pick up trash.
Pick up trash.
On the beach.
Rolling, rolling sea.
With the picked-up trash go on the rolling, rolling sea.
With the hat on the rolling, rolling sea.
Pick up trash.
Pick up trash.
Pick up trash on the rocks.
—J, three and a half years old

Tip #6: When They’re Ready, Give Them Assignments

The following was an assignment that came from our science course. After several years of writing, he was ready to do something a bit more intensive than just retelling his life or telling a story. For this particular assignment, he had to pick a bird, do a bit of research about it (with some help, of course), and then write a few sentences about the bird.

Bald eagles go high up in trees to have a nest. They migrate from north to south in North America. Their favorite food is fish. They are big. They are a meter long. They are two meters wide, from one tip of the wing to the other one. They live in North America, close to the sea. They aren’t actually bald. They are black and white. Their beaks are yellow. —J, five and a half years old

One of the beauties of starting early is that you get to watch them slowly get better at turning their thoughts into coherent words, sentences, and eventually, paragraphs. While it may be hard to start your youngsters writing at an early age—especially if you have a baby or toddler to watch at the same time!—don’t despair. If you can do it, wonderful! If not, they’ll learn later. Either way, you’re doing great—have fun!

Your Three-Year-Old Can Write (part 1)

Teaching writing to children is a very difficult task. I remember my frustration as a seven-year-old trying to correctly write down and spell a few sentences that Mom was dictating to me. It was hard enough to try to write down someone else’s words properly. But it was even harder to write down my own words—trying to be both creative and write at the same time.

Many times, when we think of teaching writing, we think of the motor skills involved—holding the pencil correctly, having the paper at the right angle, keeping within the lines, and using proper spelling.

I believe that that is not real writing—yes, that is part of the process of being a writer, but that is not who a writer is.

Your Three-Year-Old Can Write (part 1)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/RaphaelJeanneret | License: CC0 1.0

A writer is creative, is imaginative.

I have a three-year-old brother, and he loves telling stories. Ever since he first learned to talk, he’s been telling stories—stories of baby lions, tigers, cows, and kittens. And, occasionally, what he’s done with his imaginary animals. He’s already a writer, even though he’s just three.

Three-year-olds are often both very creative and very imaginative–perhaps, sometimes, even better at it than we adults are! There is no reason in the world why a three-year-old can’t think creatively. Yes, he may at times struggle with coming up with the right words to use. But, all the same, he’s a writer.

Today, I’m talking about the creative side of writing. We can’t write without creativity. I believe it isn’t the motor skills that matter at all—instead, it’s the thinking and putting the thinking into words that really counts.

No matter where we go in life, we have to be able to write something. Whether it is reports, letters, essays, or even a status update on Facebook, we have to know how to get our thoughts onto paper. No matter what curriculum you use to teach your child, they will one day have to write something. When you can tell they’re ready to begin writing stories–even if they’re very short–encourage them. Practice makes perfect. 🙂

One major benefit of writing for them when they’re still young is that they can learn to use the imagination they already have. By the time children reach seven or so, and especially when they try to learn the mechanics of writing, they’ve often lost some of that early imagination that often accompanies two and three year olds. If children can learn from two or three up how to formulate their ideas into a story, and put those ideas into words, they may have a much easier time of it later when they have more formal work to do.

Here are five ways to encourage creative writing:

  1. Write for them. Take a dictation; write down your child’s exact words. By being able to dictate, and not have to do the mechanics of writing, children can focus on the creative side of things and not lose their flow of thought. Also, don’t edit.
  2. Read lots of good books. Give your children examples of what good books are like. Reading never hurt anyone—and the more you read to them, the wider their horizons grow. When they have good examples to follow, they will find it easier to write well themselves.
  3. Give simple assignments. Many times, it is hard for a child to know what to write about when they’re told they need to write. Often, they need a place to start off. Here are a few examples of topics you could give to your youngster:
    • Write about your favorite animal
    • Write down three things you like about someone you love
    • Discuss a place you’d like to visit, and what you’d like to do there
    • Tell about a recent happening
    • Write to Grandma
    • Write a book report

    If you’re stuck for ideas, try Googling “writing prompts” or searching Pinterest—there are lots of fun picture prompt boards on there.

  4. It doesn’t have to be long. One or even two sentences are fine, especially for younger children.
  5. Give hints. If they seem at a loss for what to say next, or how to word it, it’s okay to give them hints or ask leading questions to get going again. It’s all part of the learning curve.
  6. Edit. For young children, saytwo- to five-year-olds, you probably don’t want to edit their work. Above five or six, though, you will want to start building foundations for proper grammar and sentence structure. Below are two examples of how Mom does this:
    • “Me and John walked . . . ” Mom suggests, “John and I walked?”
    • “We was . . . ” Mom suggests, “We were?”

    Most of the time, whoever it is that is writing will approve of the change, and they move on. The hope is that someday some of these changes will sink in and become second nature—and the earlier you start with this, the better.

    Update: One mother who I talked to recently on this subject said she usually edited everything as she went, and just mentioned one or two changes through the course of the dictation. So find what works for you–and feel free to experiment!

Any child can write. All of my brothers are writers, and several of them struggle with dyslexia. They all do an excellent job of coming up with stories, even if they normally aren’t all that interested in books.

One thing that has greatly helped our family is attending a homeschool writing group—where each child brings something to share, and receives suggestions and encouragement to help them write even better. Through that, my brothers have had to write something before each meeting in order to be allowed to go. That has greatly helped in giving them regular practice.

For years, I hated writing of any kind—everything about it bored me. It wasn’t until I realized the magic of spinning your own tales that I began to love the art.

With that in mind, it might take a while for your youngster to begin to really enjoy writing. And, perhaps, they aren’t cut out to be a writer in the end. It never hurts to get experience, though, and if they are willing, give it a try.

For a few more tips, and some examples of writings my brother did at two years old, come back for part two on Friday.