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 skills and writing conventions.

Skill Progression: Use writing skills and writing conventions

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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

No observable skills

12-15 Months

Scribbles vigorously

15-18 Months

Holds crayon in fist

Imitates adult’s scribbles

18-21 Months

Uses whole arm to make marks

Scribbles include horizontal and vertical movements

21-24 Months

Holds crayon with thumb and several fingers

Scribbles without going off of the paper

Imitates drawing a vertical line

24-27 Months

Imitates drawing a horizontal line

Includes curved marks in writing

27-30 Months

Draws different strokes, dots, and circular shapes

Explains what he has drawn and what different colors convey

Indicates writing with small “chicken scratches”

30-33 Months

Holds crayon in writing position with fingers and thumb directed toward the paper

Makes up and down movement needed to make a V, though shaky

33-36 Months

Imitates drawing a circle

Imitates drawing a cross

Traces on a horizontal line without going off too much

Makes marks that look like letter shapes

36-42 Months

Copies models of horizontal and vertical lines and a circle

Traces around the edge of a basic shape template

May try writing one or more letters in own name

42-48 Months

As likely to start at the right side of a page as the left when "writing"

Rotates a piece of paper and writes down the side rather than go back to the left and start a new line

Starts to copy simple horizontal and vertical letters, like E, F, L, H, T; letters with angles (K, N, M, Y) are more difficult

May make letters in segments, for example a line for the I in T, then two short lines emanating from each side of the top of the line

Strings letters or mock letters together, then asks what it says

48-54 Months

Holds a crayon with an adult grasp

Writes large letters

Copies a square from a model

Tries to imitate the letters in own name and some family member’s names

Includes a combination of letters and letter-like symbols in writing

Writes in organized and segmented rows, though placement may not be in the correct order

54-60 Months

Writes some upper and lower case letters, but may mix them together

Writes left to right and top to bottom of page

Puts spaces between some writing to represent words, but may run other words together

Replaces scribbles with letter approximations and actual letters

Asks how to write specific words

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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