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If you can speak, you don’t necessarily know how to write the language that you speak. The reverse, however, is not true. When you write the letter ‘a’, it usually means you have understood how to pronounce this letter. Writing is all about presenting an image of the impression in your mind that you ALREADY know. Drawing is also a form of writing. If you draw a chimney, you will know in your mind you’ve seen it somewhere on a book or during your travels how a chimney would look like.

If you can speak many languages, you don’t necessarily know how to write in as many languages as you speak. Writing involves organising the cluttered information in your head, then co-coordinating those organised thoughts into muscular movement of your hands that hold your writing tool. Learning to write is actually a longer process than learning to speak. Yet, the muscular memory from writing activates the nerve cells used to store information about what is to be written. The cerebral cortex, an area in the brain used for processing information for long term Memory such as languages, will receive the stimulus it needs to stay healthy.

Scribble, write, doodle

Scribble, write, doodle

How to think writing if you are learning a new language?

Speak Less Do More. Talking is good but action is better. Don’t be a NATO (No Action Talk Only) person.

If the room is in a mess, there is work to be done. Is that true? As we grow older, we tend to ‘enjoy’ or live with the thought that ‘if my room is messy, I can clean that up later in the week when I am not too tired or I get time. Wink! The week turns to months and wink again, the months turn to seasons.

Do things in the order of the written language. If you are writing, your thoughts will prompt you to think of the information first. When you start to order the information, you find that you have to spend a bit more time thinking before you can write them down. If you are learning to write in English, you know that a sentence is read from left to right. There is also a sequence.

Top *************** ===> (Left to right)
to *******
Bottom ********

Left to right, top to bottom. Wash your left hand first from the wrist down to your fingers, then your right hand. Or choose another activity to remind you of the written order of your handwritten language.

If you are learning to write in Arabic, your sentence will be read from right to left. So reverse the order in which you do your work.

Make notes of your readings. Carry a notebook and a pen in your pocket or handbag wherever you go. Make written notes of interesting things you see or thoughts that flash through your mind. It takes only a second to stand still to jot down a simple word, “Blackberry”. What do you want to know about this? Make shorter notes: battery, charger, email etc. Notes are great because it captures your random thoughts.

Doodle doodle doodle. The first few writing exercises that a child is taught before he learns how to write a proper letter is drawing by joining dots to dots that make a picture. These are exercises to develop eye-hand co-ordination. Remember a letter is simply about what you already know. Once he knows and sees a letter ‘b’, he can easily figure out how to move his hands to follow the shape of that letter. His writing lesson is complete when the letter ‘b’ is written properly without the help of those dotted lines. The equivalent technique used by adults is called scribble.

Scribble: scribble scribble. Our brains are trained to exchange information and learn the strategies to absorb visual and verbal information. To develop writing literacy, we can begin by simply challenging ourselves to create a new word that means nothing to anyone. Scribbling carries a personal message. When we return to read our scribbled messages, we would be prompted to remember the underlying information in them. We are not talking about writing legibly for others to read; scribbling is a way of preparing our mind to a path of literacy.