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by Maureen Slamer


“Nana, hurry!”  Charlie shouted.  “My party’s gonna start!” 

Nana closed the door.  “Is everyone here?  I don’t see any cars.”  As Nana dropped her bag, Charlie sprinted from the kitchen.

“No, Nana, I had to give ya these when nobody’s here.  Hurry!”

“Ohhh…” Nana opened the folded paper.

“Tations, for nastics.  You and Papa,” Charlie explained.  “Mom said I had to give these private.  I can’t vite everyone.”

“When is gymnastics?  We’d love to go.”

“Right there.”  Charlie pointed to her words. 

Nana’s eyes grew bigger, her mouth twitched.  That little stinker. She copied her mother!  That looks like her party invitation.  “Ohhhh, it’s coming soon.  Papa and I will come for sure!”  Nana glanced at Charlie’s mom for help.  Charlie’s mom just grinned.

“Charlie, tell Nana more.  What did Miss Elise tell you?”

“Miss Elise said it’s gonna be April or May and I’ll get a new leotard and you guys can come.” 

“Charlie, thank you for the invitation.  I will put it on the calendar.  It will be our secret.”  Nana bent and put the invitations in her bag as the doorbell rang.

The Power of Positive Responses to Our Littlest Writers

Charlie at just four years old can write.  She knows what an invitation is and what it is used for.  She had seen both her mom and her dad write.  She used her parents as her model.  Charlie used random marks and some letters to create her message.  She expected her Nana to be able to read her invitation and know when her gymnastics event was occurring (“When is gymnastics? We’d love to go.”  “Right there.”  Charlie pointed at her words.).

Nana played along (“Ohhhh, it’s coming soon.  Papa and I will come for sure!”).  Charlie’s mom helped Nana by encouraging Charlie to tell what her teacher had told her (“Charlie, tell Nana more.  What did Miss Elise tell you?”).  Charlie’s mom was supportive of Charlie’s approximation of writing.  She provided the encouragement necessary for Charlie to tell her Nana what prompted the invitation.

A parent, grandparent, or caregiver’s response has tremendous impact.  Supporting our youngest littles as writers is important.  When our littles write they have a purpose, they want to communicate.  At times it may be difficult to know how to respond when you cannot read or understand what was written.


• Ask the child to read it to you and then respond to the message in the writing.

• Ask the child to tell you about their writing and use that as a springboard to conversation based on the writing.

• Have writing materials, a writing box, available so your child can write when they choose to.

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