Observe the child writing a letter or note to a relative.
Give the child a pencil and paper and first ask the child to write a letter or message to someone she knows. Let her choose who she wants to write. After the child finishes, the adult asks, “Tell me what you said, and I’ll write it down below right here.” Have the child write her name at the bottom.
The child understands writing in a line, usually from left to right. Writing has some separate simple shape-like units, but the child still uses connected lines and loops that do not look like letters. Many children can write at least the first letter of their name. When trying to write more than their name or a single word, writing deteriorates into lower level scribbling.
Components of early writing include linearity (writing in a line), segmentation (letters are separate), presence of simple units, left-to-right direction, presence of complex units, random letters, and invented spelling. Learning to write their first name helps children learn a few letters and sound letter-correspondence. Early childhood educators and parents can give children reasons to write their name and provide paper and pencil in play areas, which will encourage them to practice writing. Adults can also help children learn the letters in the names of friends and family members.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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