Letter recognition starts with an enriched preschool curriculum available in Islip Terrace. However, children start practicing writing skills long before they can recognize words or even letters. As soon as a toddler can grasp a crayon or marker, he or she starts preparing for future writing fluency. One essential way to get your child’s education off to the right start is to read with him or her every day.
Not long after a child’s first birthday, he or she starts to scribble. Your child will grasp the crayon or marker in a fist, and will likely be delighted that he or she can make marks on paper. At this stage, scribbling is more about the movement of the crayon than about making any specific marks on the paper. Sometime between the second and third birthdays, toddlers develop better fine motor skills, and they start drawing shapes like circles. By the time your child enters preschool, or about age three, he or she will start holding drawing tools with the thumb and middle finger.
At around the stage in which your toddler begins to draw shapes, you should also start to notice patterns, perhaps composed of straight lines, dots, and curvy lines. This is an exciting developmental stage because pattern recognition is fundamental for reading and writing. New York state-certified instructors also recognize the use of certain patterns as being indicative of a child’s understanding of the differences between writing and drawing. For instance, your child may draw some circular shapes, and add some smaller scribbles to the paper, telling you that these scribbles are words.
Between preschool and kindergarten, your child will start drawing more detailed pictures that can somewhat resemble what the objects are supposed to be. Kids often like to draw the same types of pictures over and over again, such as stick figures for their families and pets. This is an indicator of symbolic thinking—your child is starting to learn that marks on a piece of paper can represent something else.
Letter writing is a skill that develops roughly parallel to detailed picture drawing, between the ages of three and five. It’s customary for children to start by learning how to write their own names by tracing letters that have already been printed. Encourage your child’s newfound enthusiasm for writing, such as by helping him or her write letters to relatives.