Saturday, October 1, 2016

What would your five-year old do with your computer?

Perhaps the five-year old would write this:

Title: as i went on not being sick and i hit my nea when i was running arowned homarny park and i was me and 73 cophse

as i went on not being sick i hit my nea when i was running arowned homarny park and i was me! i decided i could tomarow be a dragon to christopher!
Key: homarny park=harmony park
        cophse= coughs

Sure, your first reaction might be to see all of the spelling errors or the jumps from one plot point to another. 

That's not what I see. I see a five-year old who already knows how to spell many common words and can sound out spellings for the rest of the words well enough so that you can actually follow what she's writing. (And she realizes that 'coughs' is irregular in some way.) She uses end marks correctly some of the time. She has heard enough stories so that she knows that great ones have a "problem". She's even left you in suspense--that's classic serial writing right there!

We made it a point to allow our kids to use word-processing programs at this age and to save and print their work. I'm so glad we did! Not only do we have some excellent material for the family scrapbook. We also gave them a chance to really stretch their wings when it came to writing for fun. The time they spent writing improved their spelling. For instance, in the example above, the child invented spellings for the other words she couldn't spell, but I believe she asked for the spelling of "decided". By using the word for her own purposes, it helped cement the word into her memory so that she would be less likely to need help spelling it the next time.

For one of my children, this time writing stories also helped her become someone who loves to write. Now six years later, you can often find her sitting with her computer in the early mornings on days-off, typing away at her computer. (As a side note, having a computer of her own was so important to her that she saved up her own money to buy one--she got tired of waiting to have a turn on the shared computers in the household!)

I'll close by sharing another story this same five-year old wrote two days prior to the story above. Fans of Kung Fu Panda will especially enjoy her antagonist:

    emma almost hit her pony shaped pinyata at the one night! she was hitting it softly so she could not make it do a boom to it when the treats would fall out and she would awake mommy and daddy and christopher! at the meantime emma hit the pinyata with 100 score! it was the time she went trikertreating outside! i did not know a little girl came with her prinsess and angels came and they marry a dog and the angels grin even dose the girl and her prinsess played with her! TRIKERTREAT! evrywon said! at the meantime at noon evrybody went to sleep! at the meantime at the morning emma woke up and saw evrybody gathered arowned her! she saw somebody! it was ti lung! GOT SOMETHING FOR YA! i said squishing to ti lung! MENCI! i said getting a new voice! DON'T YOU GET MY DRAGON POWER! I'M THE DRAGON WORYOR! SQUINCHY! NO! YOU WILL PINCH PIE NAILS! SQUINCHY! we raced form to form, day to day, and the queschin is who will win? ti lung just frowned! NOBODY CAN GET AWAY MY DRAGON POWER OR I'LL GIVE YOU A DRAGON SHOWER! i sended my mini ninjas to come distroy ti lung! they did as i pleasd! now after the fight all of us went home to my house! now you can think of us and do what we did and think how you can remember ti lung by making a snack that looks like ti lung to you when he died! think of that as hard as you can! think of it!

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