Literacy Helping Your Two-Year-Old Become a Writer

One of the best ways to help children become writers is to show them through example that writing has useful purposes in your life. Point out simple moments when you are writing and explain why. Let your two-year-old see you make a grocery list, write a thank-you note, text a relative, send an email, or write down a funny thing your child said! Your two-year-old won't be writing letters yet, but when they watch you writing and have access to crayons, paper and other writing tools, they will begin to explore the world of writing and mark-making at their own pace.

Simple ways to build your child's writing skills:

Model Writing

One of the most effective ways to help children become writers is to show them through your own example that writing has useful purposes. Talk to them about how you use writing, from making a shopping list to texting Grandma, from writing down a recipe to keeping a journal. Let them see that writing is a part of daily life.

Make a “Coupon Book” of Helpful Gifts

Making gift coupons is one way to say “I love you.” Together with your child, create a coupon book of ways your child can help with a family task or give as a gift on special occasions.

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Keep Writing Materials Handy

Thick markers, crayons and paint brushes are ideal for the youngest writers since they are still developing the small muscles in their hands that help them hold tools. Likewise, large paper is helpful as they explore drawing and making marks. Give them time each week to color on blank paper. Though their art may look like scribbles, they are developing vital fine motor skills that will help them in the future.

Something Special for Dad

Daniel is sending a letter to his Dad to show him how much he loves him. Your child can read along with this interactive storybook as Daniel describes how he made and sent the letter.

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Make a Book Together

All it takes to make a book is paper and crayons/markers. Staple pieces of paper together or fold them in half. Let your two-year-old color all over the pages. Children this age may begin to tell you what object they are drawing, though it may be hard for you to decipher! Write down whatever it is they tell you, and once they have filled all the pages, read it back to them.

Storybook Builder

Your child can design his own storybook featuring favorite Sesame characters in this pick-your-own-adventure game.

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Play with Letter Toys

Tub letters, alphabet blocks, ABC puzzles and letter magnets are simple and often inexpensive toys that support literacy development. Point out letters and letter sounds as kids play, and help them build simple words out of blocks and magnets.

Compose “My Favorite Letter” Song

Music can make learning the alphabet even more fun. In this activity, you can help your child write a musical ode to her favorite letter or look through song lyrics to find those favorite letters.

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Make Sand and Playdough Shapes

Here are some ways to practice alphabet mark making before kids put pencil to paper:

  • In sand, encourage kids to use their fingers to draw lines and shapes. As they get older, take their finger and help them draw larger letters in the sand. You can do a similar activity with a stick and a patch of dirt.
  • Roll playdough into long "snakes" and then use those to form lines and shapes. This helps kids see, and feel, how shapes fit together.

What's That Shape

Your child can practice identifying and drawing basic geometric shapes with this set of shape activities from Curious George.

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Raise a Reader with Sesame Street

On this very special street, children learn early language and literacy skills such as letter knowledge, vocabulary, and reading and writing fundamentals.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Two-Year-Old

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