Looking at Writing

Pre-K: Writing Sample 4

Preschoolers start "writing" by scribbling and drawing letter-like shapes in a large circular motion. Often, a young child's first letters are drawn by accident and then identified by the child or parent. Kids at this age will form letters to represent written language for meaningful words like their names or phrases such as "I love you." Preschoolers who see older kids or adults write begin to see that writing has a purpose and they will want to try it. Provide lots of writing materials — paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and drawing tablets.

"If you want to write, you should pay attention to people — everybody has a story — and listen to people when they talk. " — Kate DiCamillo

Context of writing

This writing sample was created by a 4 year old. When asked what she wrote, the author said "I love you, Daddy!"

What is this child able to do as a writer?

This long string of letters shows us that the author is working to match sounds to letters. The E at the end of the sample is evidence that the student is listening to whole words and mapping letters to all the sounds she hears.

Move your cursor over each red bubble image marker for observations about this child’s writing.

[Click the sample to view the full size image. See transcript]


I love you, Daddy!

What can we do to nurture this writer?

Adults can nurture the development of a concept of word by pointing to individual words while reading and by drawing lines for individual words within writing samples. Taking dictation, or printing the words your child dictates, demonstrates writing, directionality, and letter/sound correspondence.

From our classroom strategy library, see Concept of word games.

Punctuation is another milestone for this writer. One way to nurture the development of correct punctuation usage is to point out punctuation in books as they're being shared. Point out the period and tell your child authors use those to let us know that is the end of a thought. Point out exclamation points (kids love to call them excitement marks!) and question marks. Your young writer will begin adding these to writing samples.

"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase