Writing Milestones for Children

Often times, parents wonder if their child is reaching appropriate literacy milestones in a timely manner.  Like developmental milestones in any area, literacy milestones will vary by individual child and depend on individual experiences.  Using Burns, Griffin, and Snow’s, Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success as a resource, I’ve compiled a list below of writing milestones for your child.  Use these as a guideline to help you enrich or challenge your child’s writing development.

Between Birth and 3 Years Old, Your Child May be Able to:

  • Attend to specific print (notice letters from his own name)
  • Scribble with purpose

Between 3 and 4 Years Old, Your Child May be Able to:

  • Understand that alphabet letters are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named
  • Displays reading and writing attempts and calls attention to self
  • Can identify about 10 alphabet letters, especially those from own name
  • Writes (scribbles) a message as part of play (writes a food order, a list, a note to someone)

Your Five Year Old May Be Able To:

  • Recognizes and can name all uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Understands that the sequence of letters in a written word represents the sequence of sounds (phonemes) in a spoken word (alphabetic principle)
  • Independently writes many uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Uses phonemic awareness and letter knowledge to spell independently (invented or creative spelling)
  • Writes (unconventionally) to express own meaning
  • Builds a repertoire of some conventionally spelled words
  • Writes own name (first and last) and the first name of some friends or classmates
  • Can write most letters and some words when they are dictated

These lists are not comprehensive and are simply meant to guide you through your child’s literacy development.  If at any point, you are concerned about your child’s literacy development, contact your pediatrician or his/her teacher.

Resource:  Burns, M.S., Griffin, P., & Snow, C.E. (Eds.).  (1999).  Starting out right:  A guide to promoting children’s reading success. Washington D.C.:  National Academy Press.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.



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