I was standing in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner when I heard my son's "serious voice" behind me.
"Excuse me, Mommy. I need you to read this."
He handed me a notepad, and on it he had written:
I WUD LIK FOUR YU T WRK WTH ME
Clearly I dropped everything to follow his message (I would like for you to work with me). I followed him upstairs where he wrote a note to his cousin - he wanted me to come because he wanted to make sure he got all the spelling correct.
As I watch my son sound out words and write down the corresponding letters, I can't help but be proud of him. I am not sure if I was turning out such well-thought missives at the age of four, but I do recall writing lots of notes when I was little.
And, it turns out that letter writing is a very good practice to encourage in young children. (Thanks, Mom!) Children who practice writing before they get into a formal classroom have been found to have better vocabulary and literacy rates, according to research published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Even more intriguing is the way parents can help nurture those writing skills by encouraging children to sound out the way they think words should be spelled. Once I read that research, I started encouraging my son even more - I don't care what the spelling he comes up with is like as I am only interested in the sounds he associates with each letter.
And since then, I have a drawer of handwritten notes from my son. What could be better than that?
Have you ever looked back at your childhood handwriting against your child's handwriting? How do they compare?