Quick Tips on Understanding Preschool Writing

Quick Tips on Understanding Preschool Writing

Is My Preschooler Writing?! 

Preschool writing can take on many shapes and stages over time. Writing is a form of communication and expression of ideas that your preschooler will use for a lifetime.

It is important to understand the stages of writing, and how it will progress, in order to help better understand how to assist your preschooler. 

I will share with you the stages of writing and how you can incorporate the first stage of writing with your preschooler's everyday activities.  

First, Let's Look at Kindergarten Writing as a Benchmark and See What is Expected:

By Kindergarten, children will be asked to use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces, informational/explanatory text, and narration.

Basically, your child will be asked to recognize print as a form of communicating ideas. 

Now, let's dive into what's age appropriate for your preschooler:

Your preschooler's writing will progress over time. Here are four stages of writing as it develops:

  1. Drawing and Scribbling: Here is where writing development begins. The scribbles and drawings are interchangeable and children may or may not discriminate between the two.

  2. Letters and Letter-Like Forms: Here children begin to write letters they often see and feel most comfortable with. They understand the letter has a name, but do not understand that the letter is associated with a sound.

  3. Beginning Sounds: Here is where preschoolers recognize the sound to letter relationship and often use inventive spelling. The first letters in the words are often matched with the correct beginning sound.

  4. Beginning and Ending Sounds: Children begin to write with spaces and have a correct beginning and ending sound when spelling and writing.

Stage One - Encouraging Drawing and Scribbling 

  • Create invitations to write by placing paper and a variety of writing tools within your preschooler's reach. 

Here is one invitation that includes three different writing tools. I often tape these pieces of kraft paper to our breakfast table. This kraft paper allows Grey to explore different forms of drawing and scribbling on his own terms as I prepare breakfast. Does it work every day? no. But on the days it does, I know he is working towards stage two of writing. 

  • Encourage your preschooler to "write" or draw what they see. 

This particular picture comes from me asking Grey, "What do you notice?" as we were growing mushrooms. It was eye-opening to see the details of what was in the bowl appear on paper. 

  • Discuss your children's drawings with statements such as: 

I see you drew a horse! I will write horse below your picture. 

That looks a lot like a train track. Let's write what the train says. "Choo-choo, choo-choo"

I see you drew the robot that you were just talking about! Let's write the word robot. (you can sound out the letters as you write)


Remember, let your preschooler progress over time.

Understanding the different stages will allow you to guide your preschooler along the way. Never push them to learn a particular strategy or idea. Watch what your preschooler is interested in and proceed by allowing them to explore on their own terms.

preschool writing




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