Children begin school at various stages of development and, because of this, will go through a variety of stages in the development of their reading and writing skills.
The range of your child’s writing progress in the early school years will vary from the scribble stage all the way through to your child writing some (or all!) words spelled correctly and in their conventional form.
Young children will often progress through various stages of development in their writing, some of which are listed below…
At the scribble stage, your child understands that writing is made of of repeated patterns, curves, lines, and dots. This is where they will try their best to write by doing what they think writing is — this means that you more than likely won’t see any actual letters, but you will likely see components of letters like the curve from the letters B, D, or P for example.
At the invented letters stage, your child has progressed to understand that letters are often their own distinct and separate shapes and not a continous flow of lines and squiggles. There may be a mixture of real letters, letters that are close to real ones, and letters that look like they could exist in another language or an alien language.
At this stage, your child has grasped the alphabet (or a decent portion of it) and has started to string these letters together one after another. There may or may not also be letters resembling real words in among what they have written.
This stage is where your child starts to show an understanding that sentences are formed in groups of letters with spaces between them. They may include real words in the sentences they form, especially if they are shorter or simple words they frequently encounter.
At this stage, your child is starting to reveal their developing knowledge of sound symbol correspondence. This means that while your child may not be correctly spelling what they are trying to convey, you are likely to understand why they have chosen the letters that they are using.
At this later stage, your child is demonstrating a clear understanding of spelling conventions and although their spelling and grammar more than likely won’t be perfect the whole way through, you will be able to easily understand the meaning they’re trying to convey. From this stage onwards, your child will go on to further refine their spelling abilities, vocabulary, and grammar.
Other than ensuring that your child is regularly given opportunities to read and experience words, we have some additional resources specifically focused on helping your child to write.
Remember that children learn to write by writing. Doing all you can to ensure that they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to write is going to be the best way you can help them on their journey in writing and literacy.