Monday, April 26, 2010

The Evolution of Writing

Owen is writing, and it is soooo cute.

But it's more than just cute. There is also something profound in these first clumsy attempts at written communication. My heart speeds up when I watch him shape letters, I marvel over what he perceives as so important that it must be written down. Here, other than his name, is the first document Owen's ever written himself:

It is about dwarfs, and what they do, and what they require to do what they do. Because someday, when he's old enough, Owen plans to play Dungeons and Dragons as a dwarf, and he's going to need the information on this sheet.
If you study the letters closely, you will see that he traced quite a few of them from dots that I put on the paper. Also, the words, where you can make them out, are spelled correctly; this is because he asked me how to spell the words and I told him.
But check out this next sample, the name of a store he and Luke are starting up for Poke (like Pokemon, pronounce Po-Kay) York:

It's called The Brothers Pom Pom Store, and they're planning on making pom-poms to sell, for Monopoly money, in Poke York for the Pokemon who live there. (Want to see Poke York? Click here.) You'll notice that 'Brothers' is spelled unconventionally, as is 'store.' Also, the letters are totally of his formation, not tracings of my letters.
When Luke saw this sign, I knew that he might question the mistakes. So I asked him to help Owen learn to write in the way that I wished he had learned to write: by trying to figure out which letters make which sounds to him, even if it doesn't make sense to the rest of us. Luke happily agreed, and I think he is enjoying being a teacher, even in a subject he's not all that confident in himself. Or, maybe it's because of his own lack of confidence.

In this latest sample, you can really see the evolution of Owen's writing - from me telling him what and how to write, to him sounding things out and writing them himself:

The drawing is mostly mine, but the letters that spell 'Pikachu' are all Owen's. They are, in order: P, K, E, D, E. And he sounded out the sounds in the word 'Pikachu' to get to those letters. So although it's barely legible, it is the one with the most personal meaning to him.

Being there at the very beginning of real attempts at written communication, especially when you can see how meaningful it is for the new writer, is one of the biggest joys of homeschooling so far. I can't wait to see what he writes next!


Lise said...

Oh, yes! Witnessing those first attempts at writing is one of my favorite things about being a teacher!

bugsboysandbooboos said...

Love it!

topsytechie said...

Wow this took me back...and in such a good way, too!! I adored those days where you could actually WATCH the learning taking place. It was kind of like finally catching a tree grow a new leaf. "A-ha!!! There's that brain leap!!"