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Writing Begins at Home

When you think about writing, you may believe that writing occurs when your child starts school. However, the process can start much earlier if children are offered Early Writing Experiences. The writing of your preschool child will go through many stages before kindergarten. If your child has time to explore these stages, he or she will have a strong foundation to build upon in school.

Early Writing Experiences help children build fine motor skills needed to eventually write letters and words, teach your child that we use writing to communicate, and that writing is useful in everyday life. It's also fun!

To answer your question about your young child's early writing experience, click here to view these documents (PDF):


Writing and Reading Go Together
Children's writing attempts begin early, often around 2 years of age. Even the earliest attempts at writing help children develop reading skills. Beginning writers learn to master the functions and purposes of writing. For example, making lists to remember what to buy at the grocery store, ordering information and other beginning writing tasks. Beginning writers learn the forms and features of written language (first names begin with a capital letter, for instance) and children learn the processes of writing (using writing to communicate) early in their development. Writing and reading are related and depend on each other. When your child writes you a note, for example, she clearly has a sense of the audience: She expects you to read her message; however, reading and writing are not simply two sides of the same coin. Especially for young children, writing is a more active pursuit than reading is. Early writing attempts are often efforts to communicate with others by making visible markings on paper. In these early experiments, your child realizes that she can use writing to make requests, to identify objects, and to express their feelings. On the other hand, reading is a more internal process, which she is trying to understand and participate in. As your child's awareness of print develops, and she recognizes that the squiggles on paper are similar to the print in books, the two activities of reading and writing begin to connect.

Because the course of writing development is not always linear and does not occur in fixed sequences, the learning process is not tied to specific ages and stages. However, by 2 years of age, most children are able to hold a large pencil, and if they are offered paper, they will begin to scribble (the precursor to writing). Girls often show interest in writing before boys. Generally, we assume that girls develop fine-motor coordination, such as the ability to grasp a pencil or crayon, slightly earlier than do boys, who tend to prefer large-motor activities like running and ball playing. Still, research shows that by age 5, boys will be just as capable as girls in developing their writing skills.



Watch these videos to see how you can help your child develop writing skill:


How Reading and Writing Begin
Encouraging Writing in School Children
Grocery shopping lists help children in early reading, writing, art and math: