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The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Honestly, one of the first things that I liked about this book was that it wasn't too long. I know full well that parents don't have time to sit down and read a 300+ page textbook about early writing skills. Most of the parents that I work with are looking for solid facts and activities that are easy and can fit into their daily lives, and The Write Start manages to do both well. The author identifies and explains the four basic stages of writing development- she refers to children as scribblers, spellers, storytellers, and scholars. Even better, all of her activities feature modifications for each stage of writing proficiency.
This book is set up so that the first section is dedicated to explaining each stage of writing development and talking about how to encourage children to write or scribble. The second half of the book consists of activities designed to encourage writing. Most of the activities are relatively easy and do not require any elaborate materials. If I had one complaint it would be that the first section of the book was a bit simplistic for me, however it would be perfect for most people who don't have the background in education that I have. Overall, this is a book that will be a great resource for parents, teachers and therapists looking to encourage writing development.
As another reviewer stated, my only disappointment is that the author was not able to include photographs, as her blog, also called The Write Start, is packed full of gorgeous ones. I guess I am a visually inspired person... I don't like recipe books without photos, either. I'd be willing to pay more for an edition with color photography!
The author, Jennifer Hallissy, has a blog by the same name ([...]) where she writes about encouraging children as writers. The blog is illustrated with beautiful photos (one thing I wish the book had). I've followed Jennifer's blog for a couple of years now and was very excited to read her book when it came out.
Jennifer puts children into four categories based on where they are developmentally as writers - scribblers, spellers, storytellers, and scholars (I have a scribbler and a storyteller at home). She also talks about ways to set up writing spaces and what writing materials are good for kids. I kept finding myself taking notes and I plan to revamp my five year old's writing desk using the ideas in the book - I'll put an alphabet poster above the table, add more writing tools, and find a rolodex that she can use for her words (I love this idea!).
The Write Start is primarily an activity book. There's plenty of good background material, but the bulk of the book is made up of the "52 playful writing activities." So many ideas! I can't wait to try them with my kids. Some of my favorites are: writing big on butcher paper, playing around with thought bubbles, "eat your words", and her treasure hunt idea. For each activity she includes variations to use at each of the different developmental stages (scribblers, spellers, etc) so you can adapt the activity to the child.
All in all, I think this is a great resource and would be perfect for parents who want to help their kids become confident writers. And most of the ideas would probably work just as well in classrooms as at home. Some even more so.
Hallissy doesn't talk down to you and she does an excellent job of explaining concepts and reasons. I did have a couple of problems with the book. One was philosophical - she writes with a HUGE emphasis on the economic benefits of writing well. I'm not disputing the necessity for being able to communicate well but her emphasis on job success and money was dismaying. The physical ability, and the creative and analytical ability to write, are important in many areas of life, not just those two.
The other problem I had was that she frequently jumped around, without specifying, between the physical ability to write ie fine motor control, body tone, etc and the cognitive ability to write. Yes, I know, the subtitle says it's about both, but ironically she herself is frequently unclear in her discussions on exactly which ability she is referring to. They are two very different abilities, not necessarily related, and she sometimes failed to distinguish between them while writing.
Overall, a useful and practical book for both parents and teachers.
The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories
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