Encouraging young children to write has many benefits. As children write, they learn the print concepts of left to right and leaving spaces between words. (Even when children are scribbling, they usually scribble from left to right and stop occasionally to write a new scribble.) Children often write about themselves and each other, copying names of favorite foods, restaurants, and other places from the print in the classroom. From these writing opportunities, they learn concrete, important-to-them words. As they stretch out words to "put down the sounds they hear," they are developing phonemic awareness. People of all ages are more apt to remember things they actually use; children are no exception. As they use what they are learning about letters and sounds to try to spell words, they are applying their phonics knowledge. Writing is perhaps the best opportunity for developing young children's print concepts, concrete words, phonemic awareness, and knowledge of letters and sounds. Because they are writing what they want to tell, children become perfectly clear about what reading and writing are for.
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