i was excited to receive two books from shambhala publications, inc. they kindly requested my review of The Write Start by Jennifer Hallissy (mom, writer, blogger and pediatric occupational therapist). i love writing, believe in the power of writing and hope to help my kids express themselves through writing someday, so this seemed like a book i could sink my teeth into.
i was happily pleased with the creative ideas included in this book intertwined with writing techniques and information every teacher/mom should know! the write start is bursting with ideas (fun and simple and child-friendly) to help children learn to write, love to write, and build strong creative writing skills. my son is still small, but i feel more excited about nurturing his scribbles and making writing fun. this is a perfect book to help children prepare for kindergarten and beyond. i like the premise of this book; writing is not just for class assignments, it can be a creative skill to cultivate and celebrate right at home!
with an easy-to-flip-through format (yay for shaded boxes, yay for checklists, yay for easy to follow instructions), it was simple to browse the activities (neatly broken into chapters) even when i didn't have time to read it from start to finish. i like that every activity (52 in all) is clearly defined with a materials list and then a simple how-to explanation and a few variations. there is a handy contents page listing all the activities too. i plan to star and underline the ones that become family favorites. this book doesn't feel like a chore to read, like some parenting books do. i can imagine having a fun weekly writing project when benji gets older and whipping out this book five minutes ahead of time to prepare for a little game we can do together. super easy for busy moms.
each activity has variations to fit your child at every stage; scribblers, spellers, storytellers or scholars. i love that these activities can grow with your child. a few activities that look fun to me are: secret code, listmania, message in a bottle, invisible ink, sand writing, and poetic license to name a few. another idea that looks cute is called table talk; simply use something called chalk cloth as a tablecloth (like a ready-to-go large chalkboard to wrap a child's desk in. must locate this magic material soon.) the activities reminded me of memorable projects i did as a kid. i remember (and still have) my first diary, complete with a little lock on it. i am oh so happy my parents made it a special outing to go buy it together.
i also appreciate the educational information about the importance of building strong hands in little ones for stronger writing skills, working with left-handers (my two-year old is a lefty!!), and dozens of great resources to remember and stock in my craft closet (butcher paper! bathtub crayons! chalkboards! post-its! alphabet magnets!). i am glad i have this book while benji is on the cusp of learning such important lessons. many of the activities in this book are not revolutionary, however they are just the ticket on a boring afternoon. i like knowing i have a creative resource to turn to with a collection of ideas to inspire me to teach and have fun and participate with my family.
keep up with jennifer and her great ideas on her blog; the write start.
sidenote // dan advised me, to be a credible reviewer for my product review posts, being as honest and forthcoming as possible is extremely important.. even illustrating the product's faults if needs be. i couldn't agree more. i hope my reviews will be helpful to my readers! with those wise words in mind, i still couldn't find anything wrong with this book. the first thing that came to mind is, there are no pictures (except at the back within the templates section), but it doesn't need pictures. the text is nicely formatted, very informative and easy on the eyes. it has plenty of legit info but does not feel like reading a textbook from childhood development 101. hooray.)
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