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On Your Marks - A practical guide to mark making, early writing and language

In Bookshelf Early Years Practice


This book has a mix of explanation, advice and practical ideas. You can use it to help you decide how you are going to approach mark making and early writing in your setting, or to improve or change what you already do. The 'Important Ideas' section gives background information about why mark making is vital for writing. Some pages with practical ideas have suggested vocabulary that you might want to introduce to children as you are talking and playing with them. This will help children to understand mark making and writing to express their own ideas.


We very much liked the clear explanations on the 'Introduction' and 'Important ideas' pages. They made the book accessible, understandable and relevant to all readers; whether they were experienced practitioners or new staff working with children for the first time.

The information Jones provides reminded us, experienced early years professionals, of the reasons why we do the things we do when we are mark making with children. Jones explains why it is important for adults to verbalise children's actions to help them understand the processes they are discovering. "For example, adults might say 'What are you writing? Oh it's your name! Of course it is! I can see you have written T for Tom lots of times".

Following his excellent explanations of the theories behind the importance of adults supporting children's early writing skills Jones provides a wealth of ideas and practical suggestions to enthuse and motivate staff to provide the best possible writing environments and experiences for children.

Throughout the book Jones gives examples and suggestions for both very young, and older children. This differentiation makes it easy for practitioners to support any age of child and also enables them to plan effectively to support children with additional needs. The book ends with a series of suggestion pages for how practitioners might involve parents in conversations about their child's mark making. These suggestions include ways of planning specific mark making events for parents to help them see how their child's early efforts with mark making helps them become confident and competent writers and artists who are supported by adults who have a shared understanding of how to help them.

We would definitely recommend this book for any professional practice library in any early years provision.

Edited by Rebecca

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