How children learn to write

Long before they can learn to write children need to master the skill of holding a pen or pencil.This usually begins by doing a few scribbles with a chubby crayon.

This primitive form of writing is known as mark making, just having fun with any form of arts and crafts

can help with hand to eye co-ordination, another skill that needs to be achieved before children can start writing.

I used to give my children and the ones that I was child minding junk mail to draw on, often I noticed that they would mark make in the space asking for a name and address, all good practice for later years.


Scribbles quickly become more sophisticated  and so drawings of familiar things such as a family member soon develop.


Once a child starts school they learn to write significant letters  enabling to attempt to write their name,

followed by more and more words which become sentences as confidence builds.


Praise children when they attempt to write but also be aware that if they are not supervised when given mark making equipment they may use them on walls or furniture, most of which can easily be removed, my motto was to keep art materials out of my living room and encouraged the children to sit up to the table for such activities.


When I was at junior school I won a hand writing competition, sadly now as an adult my writing is not so neat meaning that I tend to use a computer for writing or write in capitals so it can be read.

Please share any experiences of your children’s early attempts at writing and drawing.

I would like to thank Jade Marie Ryan, Kirsty Butland and Sarah Knight for allowing me to use their photos of their children’s work in this post.

As always questions/comments are welcome.






31 Comments on “How children learn to write

  1. Amazing how quickly children learn and it’s lovely to get them writing before they actually go to school. I believe that they now teach children to use joined up writing in their first year at school which I think it’s a step forward. The more they learn the more excited they get and take pride in their achievements. Pointing out about drawing on walls etc and only allowing drawing when sat at a table is a really good idea. Another good blog Karen well done.

  2. I love this and it’s so true! My girls started with scribbles and it’s amazing how quickly they have progressed! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  3. I find this fascinating, and have been keen on watching my own girls develop their skills. It’s especially interesting when drawing people from a head with sticks for arms and legs, become people with torsos, body parts and faces. Great post! #thesatsesh xoxo

  4. #thesatsesh little dude really isn’t keen on writing – he would rather do anything. This does mean his maths skills have improved. But he can only give the answers verbally. I know he will get there in his own time. I love the junk mail idea – pinching this 🙂

  5. Fascinating to watch this develop … seems so long ago now. I remember when our now 12 and 14 year olds were experimenting with different style of writing, exaggerated big letters, miniscule writing, like code, slanted … before discovering their own individual styles

  6. Over Christmas my girls got colouring books. I’m so used to colouring in the lines these days that the scribbles eldest made led me to question whether the books should be stored away before they are ruined! #thesatsesh

  7. This is really insightful. I try to encourage wherever possible to write and not pressure as my youngest is only four. They love using chalk and chalk pens that they can use on the window X #dreamteam

  8. Long way off before my Isabelle starts to write, my plan is to learn to write left handed as she’s learning. That way I can go through a similar, if not easier, struggle that she’s going through. And I learn something

  9. I love teaching writing as you can really see the progress children make before your eyes. Thank you for sharing this post with us on #PointShoot 📸

  10. Writing is a fascinating journey, kids all get there but I’d like to see more flexibility with learning as some are visual learners, some listeners and some doers. #BloggerClubUK

  11. I love this and so true. My eldest son would draw using both hands until primary one when the teacher asked us to try and get him to decide when hand he would use for writing. It was such an unusual experience to try and get your child to choose!


  12. Really wonderful post, seeing their writing develop is such a joy. Congratulations to on being my featured writer last week for #ablogginggoodtime

  13. My girls like to do whatever mommy is doing, so I’ll often give them old calendars and grocery lists to “write” on while I’m making my list or marking my calendar.

  14. I was so concerned that my little boy wasn’t writing when he was 3, he just wasn’t interested. He would make marks every now and again. The day he came home and he had written his name we were so proud and it has pride of place on the fridge. He was so happy! #TriumphantTales

  15. My daughter loves to ‘write’ well the three year old version. She always been a scribbler, writer whatever you want to call it since she could hold a pen. It amazes me how well she actually does. I am excited to see her actually start to form words with her scribbles and write her name! It’s such an achievement for them. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  16. I love art and drawing and anything to do with a pen. I treat myself to a new special pen every year. Cygnet on the other hand is not bothered at all. He will not sit down and do any kind of colouring or drawing. I don’t know what to do to get him into it. Pen x #bloggerclubuk

    1. Perhaps if you have a more relaxed approach he may decide to have a go, or take him to a group session, such as a toddler group where he may join in with the other children who are drawing and painting, worth a try x

  17. Great idea to allow children to write on junk mail, I’ll have to try that with Baby Lighty! I love how important childminders are in early literacy, ours has started doing phonics with Baby Lighty at age 2, I’m surprised how much he’s picked up already! Thank you for linking this to #DreamTeam!

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