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of Writing Development
When we think
about early literacy, most often what comes to mind is reading.
However, writing is an important part of early literacy as well.
Learning to read and learning to write are both important literacy
processes, and they support each other.
with other accomplishments of young children, develops in stages.
Toddlers begin their journey to writing by first noticing that an
adult is making marks on paper. They often want to know what the
adult is doing and want to copy the actions. It is important to
allow children the access to writing implements so that they can
begin handling the tools they will need to write. Often, in child-care
centers and preschool classrooms, the access to these writing tools
is either very limited or unavailable. Many child-care providers
do not see the value of letting children use these tools until they
are in preschool. Research has shown, however, that children begin
to make marks at a very early age if they are provided marking tools,
a safe place to play, and a surface that they can apply their marks
to (Gardner, 1980; Baghban, 1984; Schickedanz, 1990). By the time
a child is 3 years old, he will often try to make marks that look
like writing. Very young children intently watch the movements of
a writing utensil to see what type of mark is made, then they deliberately
vary their actions to see the results (Gibson, 1975). By allowing
young children the opportunity to explore writing tools, we are
enabling them to learn about the relationship between hand movements
and the various types of marks that can be made.
Judith Schickedanz, in her book Much More Than the ABCs: The
Early Stages of Reading and Writing, learning to write involves
many aspects other than learning to form alphabet letters. It involves
- The level
of speech that alphabet letters represent.
- The ways
in which print is organized on a page.
- The purposes
for which writing is used.
- The various
conventions associated with various purposes.
- That the
writer must think about the reader’s reaction to the writing.