By Irfan Rifai

Writing is an important skill. Hundreds of years B.C. ago, prehistoric people used to produce wall writing to tell stories . Kings and queens and people of the recent past used writing as the major means of long distance communication. Even after telephone was invented, writing is still considered as  very important because it provides with the legal issues.

In modern times, the current development of  technology only signifies the importance of writing in our lives. It goes from personal to professional reasons. From a menu on the kitchen wall, a note message we left at the telephone, a text message we send to remind the kids to buy something while returning from school to the weekly or monthly report we type by using some computer applications, presentations slides we prepare for a budget – meeting and many more: they all require us to write.

Chalkboard at A kitchen  from :
Chalkboard at A kitchen from :

People often argue of the importance of improving reading habits. Not too many people have mentioned the importance of , at the same time, pushing the habits of  reproducing their reading into writing. We may have assumed  that children learn to read first, then they learn to write.  Recent studies have shown  that we may have been faulty at the assumption. Children actually learn to  write at exactly the same time as they learn to read. The forms of the written products made by younger children may  come in the forms of  drawings on the wall, scribbles and  images with some commentary remarks.

I have a 7 year old daughter who,  ever since she was 2 -3 year old,  was pretty keen on making scribbles  and stories. I was not aware of her tendency to draw or write until she started making marks on our house wall, like many of us with kids have experienced in our houses’ wall. Wanting to have a clean wall, I started buying her a set of book notes and coloring pencils for her to draw and write her ideas. And this how the story of  ‘Naf’s Writing Project’ began.

A 6 year old story
A 6 year old story

I read from a reliable source I found on internet that to support your child’ writing development you need to, first, create real-life situations that give your child a real reason to write. With my daughter, this is how I did it. Realizing that my day-to-day contact hours with her is very limited, I asked her to write to me about things that she wanted me to read in a book. She shared her personal experiences at school. Some were happy stories but some stories also told her unhappiness. I am lucky that my daughter does not find it difficult to share her personal feelings in writing as well as in verbal. She wrote in broken sentences, yet as she grows older, I can tell that she has improved. At the age of six, she started to use conjunctions l and simple connecting words like AND and BUT.

The second thing I have been doing for the project was to provide my daughter with the opportunities to write. At home, my wife and I often assign her to take messages while we are on the phone or to write things that we need to buy before going to the grocery store. From the office, I also often text her just to ask her how she has been or if there was anything that she wanted to tell me about. It’s surprising how she has learned to choose a certain kinds of words over the others while texting.