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If You Want Children to Become Writers, Ask Them to Write Their Names

by Evelyn Lieberman
July/August 2009
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/if-you-want-children-to-become-writers-ask-them-to-write-their-names/5018847/

As a long-time preschool teacher I observed many children making marks and calling it writing. They made ‘lists,’ wrote ‘letters,’ signed their names, etc. However, their ‘writing’ came in many shapes and forms and changed over time. To me this indicated there might be developmental stages in early writing. To find out, I conducted research in my own classroom and recorded the results. By observing children, collecting writing samples, and talking to children I hoped I could describe what children intuitively knew and came to learn about written language.

A lot is known about the development of art ability in young children from the scribbling of infants to preschoolers’ drawings of stick figures and eventually realistic drawing. However, there is very little acknowledgment or recognition of young children’s early writing abilities from two-year-old’s scribbling to four- and five-year-old’s name writing. I wanted to rectify this situation. I felt that if teachers were going to help children learn to write appropriately, there needed to be a sequential or developmental description of what children know about written language as evidenced in their actual attempts as they learn to write.

Discovering what children know about written language

To study the writing efforts of ...

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