1PICTURE IT! PUBLISH IT! READ IT! PARENTS AND CHILDREN WRITING TOGETHER
2Stages of Writing Development How children learn to write
3Children begin to write when they are ready some at three years oldsome when they start schoolChildren learn about writing like they learn about everything elseby seeing printby watching other people writeby trying to write
4Name WritingLearning to write the way adults write takes time. Children start by using what they know. Nicholas used several different ways over the period of a year to write his name:a picture of himself
5scribble writingWhenever children don’t know how to write something they may use both drawing and scribbling.
6Six months later, Nicholas was writing his name using actual letters from his name, but not all of them.
7Soon, Nicholas was writing his name like this: Often children will make a mistake, recognize it, and start over.
8Later, Nicholas wrote his name using all the letters placed in the correct order. As Nicholas continued to write his name, he gained control over his letter forms. However…
9…one day he said, “I’m going to write my name a different way …one day he said, “I’m going to write my name a different way.” He wrote his name like thisLike most young children, Nicholas didn’t know yet that the order of letters in a word make a difference.
10Young children experiment with many ways of doing things. By experimenting with writing, children discover how writing works.At this stage, experimenting is more important than ‘correctness’.
11Young children often write letters backwards or upside down. They also think that you can write either from right to left or from left to right.
12Gradually children learn: Letters in words go in a certain order.Letters aren’t written backwards or upside down.Writing in English goes from left to right.
13Writing MessagesIn addition to writing their names, children like to write messages. Like name writing, children use what they know to produce a written message.Sometimes children write a series of letters across a page.
14When Nicholas was in preschool he wrote: This is what he read: Dear Daddy, I found your sweater and I put it on the chair. Now you can wear it when you want.
15Sometimes children notice something about how writing works and invent their own form until they learn how to do it correctly.Nicholas uses lines to separate some letters. He knows words are set off from one another and he makes up a way to show this.
16Sometimes children include drawings in their messages Sometimes children include drawings in their messages. This may be because they have a “big” story idea and don’t feel they can get it down fast enough. From this we know that they understand writing and drawing are different.
17As children grow older, they become aware of different writing forms and may combine them. At the end of Grade Primary, Nicholas used several writing forms to write a letter and envelope…
18He wrote: Dear Mommy, I am not feeling well. On the envelope Nicholas wrote Mommy and the address in a combination of scribbles and numbers and letters.
19By grade one, most children enjoy writing stories and messages. They:are more skilled at forming lettersspell familiar words correctlymake up spelling for words they don’t know how to spell
20As children read books and see people writing, they gradually learn to follow correct rules of writing.All of these examples tell us several things about how children learn to write…
21Young children like to make written messages. Young children can make written messages.Young children write in their own way.Young children make fewer mistakes as they practice writing.
22Gradually, with support and encouragement, children’s writing develops closer and closer to standard.
23For more information about PICTURE IT! PUBLISH IT! READ IT! ContactDr. Jane Baskwill (902) Dr. Mary Jane Harkins (902)Faculty of Education Mount Saint Vincent University 166 Bedford Highway, Halifax, NS B3M 2J6 Produced with the support from the Canadian Council onLearning, Knowledge Development Grant, 2007