Let’s talk about the stages of writing development.
The stages of writing development can take on many shapes and stages over time. Writing is a form of communication and expression of ideas that your preschooler will use for a lifetime.
It is important to understand the stages of writing and how it will progress to better encourage your preschooler over the next few years.
I will share the stages of writing with you and how we can incorporate the first stage of writing with our preschooler’s everyday activities.
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First, let’s look at Kindergarten writing as a benchmark and see where we are headed.
By Kindergarten, many children will be asked to use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces, informational/explanatory text, and narration.
This means that your child will be asked to recognize print as a form of communicating ideas.
Now, let’s dive into what’s age-appropriate for your preschooler:
Your preschooler’s writing will progress over time. Here are four stages of writing as it develops:
Drawing and Scribbling: Here is where writing development begins. The scribbles and drawings are interchangeable, and children may or may not discriminate between the two.
Letters and Letter-Like Forms: Here, children begin to write letters they often see and feel most comfortable with. They understand the letter has a name but does not understand that it is associated with a sound. Children are also able to identify lines and curves within letters.
Beginning Sounds: Here is where preschoolers recognize the sound to letter relationships and often use inventive spelling. The first letters in words are often matched with the correct beginning sound. Learn more about letter recognition here.
Beginning and Ending Sounds: Children begin to write with spaces and have a correct beginning and ending sound when spelling and writing. We see this closer to Kindergarten.
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Encourage the drawing and scribbling stage of writing development.
Create invitations to write by placing paper and a variety of writing tools within your preschooler’s reach.
Above is a pencil grip invitation that includes the opportunity to get comfortable holding a maker.
I often tape these pieces of white paper to our breakfast table. This paper allows my toddler and preschooler to explore different drawing forms and scribble on their own terms as I prepare breakfast.
Does the writing look like much to the naked eye? Not really. However, I know my toddler and preschooler are working towards stage two of writing.
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Encourage the exploration of prewriting.
Taking the time to explore lines and curves will explore the lines and curves that form letters.
Try these prewriting activities first.
- Prewriting with colors and movement
- Toddler Dot to Dot
- Bring Home the Bears
- Outdoor Prewriting Movement
- Sticker Maze
Encourage your preschooler to “write” or draw what they see.
This particular picture comes from asking my preschooler, What do you notice? as we were growing mushrooms. It was eye-opening to see the details of what was in the bowl appear on paper.
After my preschooler shared what he saw, I suggested he write it on his paper.
Can he write letters? He cannot. But he thinks he can, and I am here to encourage that.
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Discuss your children’s drawings and add print under the pictures.
Tell me about what you drew.
Oh, a horse! Tell me more! Where is this horse?
I will write a horse and the details you share with me on your picture.
Remember, let your toddler and preschooler’s writing progress over time.
We have lots of time to build confidence and practice before writing in Kindergarten.
Understanding the different stages of writing development will allow you to guide your preschooler along the way.
Knowing these stages will also help us recognize each stage’s importance and watch writing progress over time.