On the Road to Writing


When young children draw and scribble, the scribbles will become letters and finally words.

Tools and Materials

Provide your child with a variety of writing tools (pens, crayons, pencils, chalk)

Steps to take

Have your child draw on blank paper rather than a coloring or workbook to encourage self expression (grocery bags, scratch paper or used paper turned over, junk mail)

At Home

If you have more time

HINT: Young children may need to strengthen their fingers using play dough, small blocks, tearing or cutting paper or stringing beads before being able to hold writing tools.
Consider using larger/thicker writing tools for small children.

  • Have your child write out a shopping list before you go to a store, see if she remembers what she wrote when she gets to the store.
  • After your child draws a picture or writes ask your child to "Tell me about your work. Do you want me to write down what you said underneath?" Have you child read back what you wrote. *Hint: Write your child's exact words. This allows your child to see his own words translated to print and hear them again later.
  • Have your child write messages to family members on paper or a refrigerator message board.

On the Go

If you have more time

  • Write with chalk on the sidewalk.  Give your child a bucket  of water and a paintbrush or an ice cube to write on the sidewalk or side of the building.   Draw or write in the sandbox with a stick or your finger. Act out the letters of the alphabet with your body.
  • While driving in the car, draw in  the air with your finger or on the seat in front of you. Make a clipboard out of cardboard that be taken in the car. Use travel toys such as a Magnet writer or a small dry-erase board. See what letters you can make using your fingers. Using fuzzy craft sticks create letters.

Words to Know

Writing tools Crayon   Marker  Pencil  Pen List Paper

Possible Observations

Pre-writing; holds writing tools (crayons, pencils, markers, chalk); tells a story with a drawing