Reading and writing are learned best when learned simultaneously. They go together like north and south.
Think of reading as traveling north:
Reading asks us to see symbols, hear the sounds those symbols represent, connect those sounds into words, and understand what the writer was trying to convey.
Writing takes us along the same path but in the opposite direction, south:
Writing asks us to understand what we want to say, break that statement into words, break those words down into the sounds we hear, write down the symbols that stand for those sounds.
The neural pathways for reading and writing in the brain are the same pathways.
Here's another way to think of it:
In reading we go from eyes to ears to mouth.
In writing we go from mouth to ears to eyes.
(Writing adds the challenge of fine-motor control, especially difficult for some five year olds, especially—dare I say this?—Boys.)
So moms and dads and aunts, uncles and grandparents, if you want to help a beginning reader learn to become a better reader, go get a pencil and paper and ask your loved one to write something for you.
Here's some work handed to me Friday by two of the students in my room.