Your child has been learning to write since he could hold a crayon. Below are the developmental stages of writing your child will go through. It is meant to give you an idea of where your child is in writing development. Watch this year as your child progresses through the stages. Every child progresses at a different rate, so your child may not be at the same level as others.
Scribbling. Scribbling looks like random assortment of marks on a child's paper. Sometimes the marks are large, circular, and random, and resemble drawing. Although the marks do not resemble print, they are significant because the young writer uses them to show ideas.
Letter-like Symbols. Letter-like forms emerge, sometimes randomly placed, and are interspersed with numbers. The children can tell about their own drawings or writings. In this stage, spacing is rarely present.
Strings of Letters. In the strings-of-letters phase, students write some legible letters that tell us they know more about writing. Students are developing awareness of the sound-to-symbol relationship, although they are not matching most sounds. Students usually write in capital letters and have not yet begun spacing.
Beginning Sounds Emerge. At this stage, students begin to see the differences between a letter and a word, but they may not use spacing between words. Their message makes sense and matches the picture, especially when they choose the topic.
Consonants Represent Words. Students begin to leave spaces between their words and may often mix upper- and lowercase letters in their writing. They begin using punctuation and usually write sentences that tell ideas.
Initial, Middle, and Final Sounds. Students in this phase may spell correctly some sight words, siblings' names, and environmental print, but other words are spelled the way they sounds. Children easily hear sounds in words, and their writing is very readable.
Transitional Phases. This writing is readable and approaches conventional spelling. The students' writing is interspersed with words that are in standard form and have standard letter patterns.
Standard Spelling. Students in this phase can spell most words correctly and are developing an understanding of root words, compound words, and contractions. This understanding helps students spell similar words.
Writing is a process that flows gradually. As you give your children time to explore and experiment with writing, you will begin to see evidence of growth. Since writing is a process and stages are connected, your child may show evidence of more than one stage in a single piece of writing.
These Developmental Stages of Writing are based on the work of Richard Gentry.