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One Child's Journey From Scribbles to Stories

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1 One Child's Journey From Scribbles to Stories
Writing Development: One Child's Journey From Scribbles to Stories  

2 Toby's Writing: Age 18 months
Toby starts to scribble at 18 months. His parents provide him with unlined paper and thick markers that are easy for him to grasp. His ability to make dark marks and to write in a circular motion indicate that he is gaining control over the small muscles in his hands. Although he will not write real letters for quite some time, Toby's scribbling prepares him for this step

3 Toby's Writing: Age 3 At home, he chooses to write on his own. He spends time filling pads of paper with "writing" similar to this page. He combines scribbles, which are around the edges of the paper, with many figures that have a letter-like appearance. Toby begins to write some letters in his name. In the center of the paper, he writes an upside down "T" and an 'o" to the left. The letter-like figure to the right of the "T" may even be a "B." As is typical of toddlers and young children, Toby is not yet sure of how individual letters are oriented in space and does not know that print goes from left to right. However, he is beginning to use real and letter-like letters in his writing.

4 Toby's Writing: Age 4 Four-year-old Toby also enjoys writing and drawing at school. He draws a picture of a fire truck, writes a label for his picture, and also writes his name. Like most children his age, Toby has learned a lot about the printed word in just a year. He now writes from left to right. Toby is beginning to use invented spelling, writing "fire truck" as "FRTRK." Typical of young children, he does not yet use any vowels in his invented spelling.. He does not put a space between the words "fire" and "truck" and may not even know these are two words. He writes using only upper case letters, and nearly all are correctly formed

5 Toby's Writing: Kindergartner
Toby continues to write a lot in kindergarten. He draws a picture of a crane and labels it, "Crane lifting a house." Similar to a year ago, he combines a picture with a label, but he now uses a label of several words. He still uses mostly upper case letters, as is typical for kindergartners. Toby now uses spaces between words. He continues to use invented spelling, but he has learned how to spell the common ending "ing" the correct way. He continues to use mostly consonants in his invented spelling, which is also typical of kindergartners.

6 Toby's Writing: First Grader
In first grade, Toby uses writing a lot both in and out of school. At home, when he is mad at his parents, he writes them a letter to express his feelings. Toby is able to write much more than he could just a year ago. He has learned lower case letters in first grade and uses mostly lower case letters now. He has learned some more about conventions of print, such as an upper case letter to start "Bob" and "Mom." He is exploring punctuation by using exclamation points, a period, and an apostrophe, but he has not yet mastered how to use these. Like most first graders, Toby uses some invented spelling to tackle harder words such as "meanie," but he now spells most simple words correctly.

7 Toby's Writing: Second-Grader
Toby's classroom encourages children to express ideas through journal writing. In this journal entry, Toby creates a story about some animals playing baseball. Toby is now able to write very long stories. Although just a page is shown here, this story continues for four full pages! Toby is more secure with conventions of writing, such as when to use upper case letters and periods. He still relies on invented spelling to spell harder words, but spells many common words the correct way.

8 Toby's Writing: Third-Grader

9 In third grade, Toby continues to write in his journal daily.
In this typical entry, he writes about the highlights of his weekend. Toby's handwriting is much smaller, showing that he now has greater control over his handwriting and that he forms letters smoothly and easily. He now uses upper case letters correctly at the beginning of sentences and for proper names, such as Nathaniel, Mr. Holland, and Super Muncher. He places punctuation marks at the ends of sentences and uses points and periods. Toby now uses correct spelling almost exclusively.

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