Using pointers to teach writing

Pointers help children track words better, strengthening reading and writing skills. Pencils, wands, chopsticks, and silly spoons can all make fun pointers.

Want to add a little fun to your younger students’ school day? Give your daughter a princess wand and your son a wooden sword.

What’s that? You’re not studying medieval history? That’s OK, because I’m talking about using these, and other amusing objects, for teaching reading and writing!

Pointers are fun and educational. They help children track words better, strengthening reading and writing skills. Gather or make a collection of pointers and keep them in a jar or can in your school area.

What Makes a Good Pointer?

Pointers help children track words better, strengthening reading and writing skills. Pencils, wands, chopsticks, and silly spoons can all make fun pointers.Just about any long, thin implement makes a fabulous pointer that you can use to enhance your teaching time.

Practical pointers include a ruler or drumstick or other object readily available around the house.

Pointers help children track words better, strengthening reading and writing skills. Pencils, wands, chopsticks, and silly spoons can all make fun pointers.For a more whimsical pointer, pull out that wand or sword, or try funky knitting needles, fancy chopsticks, wooden spoons painted with faces, or dowels with unusual pencil-toppers glued to one end.

And check out your local dollar store to see what you can find. After all, you’re bound only by your imagination!

An absolute huge hit with Super Hero has been the Lloyd pointer – and the Thomas and Turtle pointers. I attached a Lego piece of one of his favorite Ninjago characters, to the end of a broken water shooter toy. The novel pointer is such a simple idea, it’s hard to imagine the enthusiasm it generates. Each time I take out Lloyd, or Thomas, or Turtle to point out the things we write, Super Hero giggles and participates eagerly, wishing to point and read or write himself.

Patricia, Raising a Self-Reliant Child

Reading the Room

Let your kindergartner, first, or second grader choose a pointer from the jar. With her pointer, she can “read the room” by pointing to print that is familiar to her:

  • Alphabet chart
  • Calendar (month, days of the week, numbers)
  • Familiar words on posters, wall charts, book covers, word walls, and boxes

More Ways to Use Pointers

  1. Letter Hunt. Ask your child to search out and point to all the Aa’s or Mm’s or Rr’s he can find around the room.
  2. I Spy. Go to a room where words are visibly displayed on books, magazines, games, cans, boxes, or wall art. Say, “I spy five vowels,” “I spy an upper-case D,” or “I spy three nouns,” and let your child search and point.
  3. Tracking. When working on writing with your young student, write on a white board or large sheet of chart paper. Help your child use a pointer to track words in a sentence as you read them aloud together.
  4. Elements of a sentence or paragraph. According to her skill level, ask your child to use her pointer to identify ending punctuation, capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, or paragraph indentation. Again, writing on the white board or large sheet of paper makes it easier for the child to track writing and use the pointer.

If pointers and other engaging, hands-on activities appeal to you, you’ll find these and many more practical ideas within the lessons of WriteShop Primary.

Photos: Caro’H, Kain Kalju, and Yoppy, courtesy of Creative Commons
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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Nancy I. Sanders on 03.17.08 at 12:42 pm

What great, fun ideas to help kids enjoy the writing process more! Way to go, Kim!

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