By Jennifer Hallissy
Trumpeter, $17.95, 160 pages

You are your child’s first writing teacher. Using Jennifer Hallissy’s guidebook, The Write Start, you will gain the tools needed to introduce your child to the wonderful world of writing. Hallissy is a mother and a pediatric occupational therapist. For children to master a higher-level skill like writing, they must have a strong foundation of basic skills. Her writing style is conversational and she directly addresses parents.

The book begins with explanations of the developmental stages related to writing readiness. Learn about hand preference, gripping writing implements, hand strengthening exercises, introducing the alphabet, creating a special practice area in the home, and establishing family writing rituals (birthday cards, a journal or a scrapbook). The second half of the book highlights 52 classic writing activities designed to introduce and hone basic skills. Hallissy divides this part into five sections – learn, make, do, play, and connect. In “mystery letters,” trace a letter on your child’s back and have them guess. Serve food items in alphabet shapes in “Eat Your Words.” Hallissy includes templates for alphabet tracing, fun forms to fill out, and fill-in-the-blank letters and cards. Help your future writer build confidence; teach writing development before the first placemat scribble or doodle to grandma.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin