North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Language Development and Communication (LDC)

Subdomain: Foundations for Writing

Goal: Children use writing and other symbols to record information and communicate for a variety of purposes.

Skill Progression: Use writing and other symbols to record information and communicate for a variety of purposes

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List of Skills by Age

1-2 Months

No observable skills

2-4 Months

No observable skills

4-6 Months

No observable skills

6-8 Months

No observable skills

8-10 Months

No observable skills

10-12 Months

Attempts to imitate adult marks on paper by banging dots or making short marks

12-15 Months

Imitates adult’s scribbles

15-18 Months

Spontaneously scribbles on paper (or other surface) - no understanding of true writing

18-21 Months

Makes marks on paper with no organization

Experiments with vertical and horizontal straight lines-- alone, next to, or on top of other lines

Produces writing lines differently than drawing lines

21-24 Months

Makes large continuous circular scribbles, with occasional straight lines

Imitates vertical strokes

24-27 Months

Imitates horizontal stroke

Experiments with different ways to draw and write, such as “magic” drawing boards, making impressions in sand, drawing on computer app. with finger, etc.

27-30 Months

Creates separated, tight scribble marks

30-33 Months

Zigzag scribbles are added to loops

Copies a circle

Demonstrates understanding of the uses and formats of writing; scribbles and calls the result a note or letter

33-36 Months

Distinguishes writing from drawing

Draws recognizable forms (e.g., face, flower)

Imitates a cross

Engages in scribble writing

Makes marks to create writing, explains what the writing “says”

Attempts to make first letter of own name, but the appearance is unconventional

36-42 Months

Organizes messages or stories written with scribble writing with adult assistance

Dictates words for the adult to write down

Uses 3 fingers to hold pencil to write

Draws circle spontaneously

42-48 Months

Memorizes the letters in own name and tries to write them

Demonstrates awareness of uses for writing, and uses writing for these functions in "real" life and in play (e.g., scribble phone messages, make signs for block buildings, create cards, make tickets, etc.)

Uses drawing to stand for writing to communicate a message

48-54 Months

Differentiates between letters and numbers

Copies a square

Draws a person with a head and at least 6 features

Draws simple pictures to tell a story

Attempts to write letter-like forms in a sequence to write a message

54-60 Months

Imitates drawing a triangle

Replaces scribbles with letter approximations and actual letters in a message or story

Writing formats differ for different purposes (e.g., list, card, story)

May reverse letters when writing

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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