Monday, February 1, 2016

Writing

Stage 3:  Lines and Patterns (2 1/2 years to 3 1/2 years) 
Children now understand that writing is made up of lines, curves, and repeated patterns.  They try to imitate this in their own writing.  So while they may not write actual letters, you may see components of letters in their drawing.  These might include lines, dots and curves.  This is an exciting time as your toddler realizes that his drawing conveys meaning!  For example, he may write something down and then tell you what word it says.  This is an important step toward reading and writing.


Stage 4:  Pictures of Objects or People (3 years to 5 years)

Many adults think of “pictures” as a picture of something.  This ability to hold an image in your mind and then represent it on the page is a thinking skill that takes some time to develop.  At first, children name their unplanned creations.  This means that they finish the picture and then label their masterpiece with the names of people, animals, or objects they are familiar with.  This changes over time. 
Soon you will see your child clearly planning prior to drawing what he will create.  You will also see more detail in the pictures, more control in the way your child handles the crayon or marker, and the use of more colors.  What else to be on the lookout for?  Children’s first pictures often build off circles.  So, you may see a sun—an irregular circle, with lots of stick “rays” shooting out—or a person (usually a circle with roughly recognizable human features). 
Once your child has begun to purposefully draw images, she has mastered symbolic thinking.  This important milestone in thinking skills means that your child understands that lines on paper can be a symbol of something else, like a house, a cat or a person.  At this stage, your child also begins to understand the difference between pictures and writing.  So you may see him draw a picture and then scribble some "words" underneath to describe what he has drawn or to tell a story.  When your child is able to share his story with you, he will be motivated to "author" more and more work as he grows.

And…later:

Stage 5:  Letter and Word Practice (3 to 5 years)

Children have had experience with letters and print for several years now and are beginning to use letters in their own writing.  Usually children start by experimenting with the letters in their own names, as these are most familiar to them.  They also make “pretend letters” by copying familiar letter shapes, and will often assume that their created letter must be real because it looks like other letters they have seen (Robertson, 2007). 

During this time, children also begin to understand that some words are made of symbols that are shorter and some words are made of symbols that are longer.  As a result, their scribbles change.  Rather than one long string of letters or letter-like shapes, your child's writing now has short and long patterns that look like words or sentences.  While these letters and words are probably not technically correct, it does not matter.  This exciting milestone means that your child is beginning to understand that text and print have meaning.


Taken from Zero to Three