Developing Writing and Spelling at Home

Subscribe to Growing Readers!

Have Growing Readers delivered each month right to your inbox! (In English & Spanish) Sign up here >

Writing is a terrific way for children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is also a fundamental way in which children learn to organize ideas. And learning to write well helps children to be better readers.

When engaging in writing, young children often mirror what they see around them; adults and older children writing lists, notes, text messaging. They are observing the way writing is used in our everyday lives.

Writing at home

Here are some suggestions that engage your child in the writing process:

  • Have your child write instructions for taking care of the family pet. These will be useful as you plan your summer vacations!
  • Write a letter or thank you note to a relative. Talk through what your child wants to say before writing begins.
  • Make a shopping list before going to the grocery store.
  • Write an online review of a book or an item you recently purchased ( or a recipe you tried (
  • Talk about the presidential election and write a description of the kind of president you want.
  • Find a picture in the newspaper and write an article to accompany it.
  • Start keeping a personal diary, a household guestbook, or a baby book for a younger sibling.

Does spelling count?

Early attempts at spelling are not the random swings they sometimes appear. Children's "invented spelling" gives us a window into what they understand about written language. A good teacher will be able to tell the difference between the misspellings that indicate normal literacy development and those that suggest a possible learning disability. If you have questions, talk to your child's teacher or reading specialist.

What should I write about?

Help your child get their thoughts together in an organized way. Especially when a child starts writing, he may need help planning out what he wants to say.

Writer's strike

If your child avoids writing, use materials and tools that support both the thinking process and the physical act of writing:

  • Use wide lined paper which helps kids line up and space their letters
  • Use a whiteboard, which allows them to easily erase and try again
  • Use a keyboard, which also allows kids to easily edit
  • Download this article as a PDF.


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected].

More by this author

aft shield logo
nea logo

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.