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Developmental Stages Of A Child's Writing

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Developmental Stages Of A Child's Writing

The development of writing skills depends on a variety of physiological and environmental factors. Children have to develop fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination to be able to write. Also, their awareness of sounds and prints in the environment influences how ready they are to write. In the following article, it provides the stages children progress through of acquiring writing skills.


This stage is marked from the time that babies are able to hold crayons or pencils till about two years. They start out by imitating adults in the act of pushing crayons on paper and can start at any point in the page. Eventually, they begin using a particular direction like left to right while scribbling which may begin to look like mock letters. As the child begins to scribble and attract attention from adults, they are catching up with the idea that the lines and squiggles they have marked on paper mean something.


Generally between two and four years, a child’s scribbles on paper start taking definite shapes as a precursor to letterforms. They also start grouping letters with spaces in between to resemble words. Easy progression through this stage greatly depends upon the adult caregiver’s response and encouragement. The more adults engage with and model letters for children, the easier it will be for them to understand that the lines and shapes grown-ups use for writing are symbols called letters. At this stage, children are not yet able to match letters to sounds – at least not consistently – but they are starting to get that letters to play an important role in writing. Adults can further support this process by reading a lot and exploring sounds through songs and rhymes in order to build up the phonemic awareness necessary for writing.


With growing cognitive skills between the ages of four and seven, children begin to understand that the sounds that makeup spoken words can be represented on paper through letters. As a result of this understanding, they stop using random letters in their writing and instead begin matching the sounds of spoken language to letters they now know. During this stage, children are not yet aware of spelling conventions so they may use k to write cat. Also because they are just beginning to associate sounds and letters, they may reverse letters or mix them up. However, educators and parents should avoid correcting such mistakes at this stage since spellings are largely a matter of language conventions and will happen eventually. Instead, celebrate the child’s growing ability to associate spoken sounds and letters which marks a developmental milestone.


From approximately six years onwards, children realize that there are certain conventions to arranging sounds in the form of letters. This marks the practice of using correct spellings and later leads to the awareness that similar sounds but different spellings like an hour and are can have different meanings. As a result children in this stage also start memorizing certain common words like ‘was’, and ‘the’ in which the sounds are not directly reflected in spellings.

Further Reading

Stages Of Writing Posters - The Stages Of Writing Posters are a great source of information to refer to when children begin to write. The posters show the different stages a child goes through in their writing development. These are great to use for reference when completing assessments on children. These are also great to display in the writing area.

Pre-Writing Skills - This article will provide you with a guideline on how best to develop a child’s pre-writing skills and the process a preschool child will go through during the initial stage of pre-writing development.

Pre-Writing Skills Activities For Preschoolers - The following article provides information on Pre-Writing Skills Activities, Benefits Of Pre-Writing Skills and more. 

Drawing And Talking In Early Writing Development - The following article provides information on the role of drawing and talking in early writing development.

Foundation Skills To Support Children To Write -  The following article provides strategies to nurture foundation skills that will support writing skills in children.

Pre-Writing Skills Printables - Free pre-writing skills worksheets and printables are available to download. 

Stages Of Writing Development, Families Academics
Supporting Children Through The Stages Of Writing, Baby Centre

Created On June 26, 2023 Last modified on Monday, June 26, 2023
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