Patterns of Writing Development for Children

Patterns of Writing Development for Children
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  • 0:02 Writing Development
  • 0:58 Early Writing
  • 3:55 Letters & Words
  • 6:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How do children go from scribbling randomly on a page to writing words and sentences and paragraphs? In this lesson, we'll answer that question as we explore the seven major steps in writing development.

Writing Development

Melanie loves her son, Jeremy, very much. She knows that writing skills are very important to his future success, and she wants to help him become a great writer, but she's not sure how to do that. How do children learn to write? How do scribbles turn into sentences? A child's writing development begins long before they are actually able to communicate through written language. In fact, when Jeremy scribbles on a page, he is engaging in the very early stages of writing.

Jeremy, like other children, will go through certain stages as he develops as a writer. How quickly and at what age he moves through those stages is personal, but there are certain milestones that Melanie can look out for as she watches him develop. Let's look closer at the stages of writing development, and what Melanie can do to help Jeremy at each stage.

Early Writing

Jeremy is still very young, and when he is given a pen or pencil, he uses it like a crayon: scribbling on the page in front of him instead of writing language in a way that is recognizable to others. As we said before, Jeremy's scribbling is an early sign of writing. In fact, the first three stages of writing development all involve some type of scribbling.

Stage one is the random scribbling stage. This is usually around age two or three. During this stage, children learn that moving an instrument like a pen or a crayon across a paper makes marks. The child has very little control over how they move the writing instrument; they are moving it with their whole body instead of just their hand or their wrist. Their scribbles, as the name implies, look random. There's not really a pattern to them.

When Jeremy was still in stage one, Melanie helped him by encouraging him to scribble with many different instruments. She gave him crayons and pens and pencils and markers. By providing all these different instruments, Melanie was encouraging him to explore and figure out how different instruments felt in his hand.

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