Your child is picking up new words and enjoying it when you read aloud to them. Print is a complex system with structured rules. The role of capitalization, punctuation, and grammar is paramount to effective communication. Words on the page are organized in a format that is easily understood.
The English language uses a space to separate each written word. Early literacy instruction includes identifying spaces between words. Additionally, young writers need concrete models to help them space words in their independent writing. Keep reading to learn five engaging activities to help your child understand spaces between words.
Most children need help applying word spacing in their own writing. When reading aloud to your child, have him concentrate on finger pointing to each word. This reinforces spacing, the direction of left to right, and the return left swoop at the end of the line. Kids Academy has curated print awareness activities including these word- and letter-spacing worksheets featured here:
Try these five recommendations for practicing word spacing in writing.
Give your child an ink pad to make prints at the spaces between each word in his writing. The fingerprints should be done with the opposite hand, not the writing hand.
Older children who still have not mastered spaces between words can benefit from grid paper. Quarter-inch squares are a good size for older children. Use half-inch grid paper for younger writers. Model how to write each word in its own separate box. This is particularly helpful in math when spacing between numbers.
Use a sweet treat, like marshmallows, cereal pieces, or candy to put as a marker between words. Your child can remove the sweet treats after the entire writing piece is completed to see the spaces.
Get craft and create a spacing tool for your child to use as a guide. Appeal to your child’s interest for motivation. For example, if your child is really into butterflies, you can place a small plastic butterfly clip on the end of a craft stick to use as a spacing tool. This can also double as a finger-pointing tool.
Many children enjoy using stickers and stamps between words. Use this method sparingly because the stickers will crowd the paper and your child won’t see the spacing that you’re trying to reinforce.
Choose an activity that matches your child’s interest. Vary your approach to make learning fun for your child.