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Mark Making - How to Support your Child

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Child Development, Kids Activities , Tags: reading, scribbles, stages of mark making, writing

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'Mark making' is the action of making marks on paper with a writing implement and defines the beginning of the journey to literacy - the ability to read and write.  Long before a baby is able to make marks there are skills that must be learned in order to control the body, developing both fine and gross motor skills, as well as a mental grasp of making marks on paper.   Here are some ideas to help your child gain the confidence to make marks and some ways to encourage them at the various stages of development.  From the earliest age babies and toddlers can be preparing to learn writing in later life, and the earlier they start, the more confident they will be.

Up to one year the adult needs to:

  • encourage the child to explore
  • encourage lots of large muscle control activities such as crawling, rolling
  • join in with these activities
  • show an interest in random marks
  • provide toys that can be gripped easily

18 months - 2 years the adult needs to:

  • show lots of interest in the marks made
  • look at patterns and marks together and try out new shapes to draw and scribbles
  • give your child the chance to see your writing and write in front of them (look at books, notes and cards etc)
  • provide lots of materials to write with and to write on
  • play with your child and imitate their marks and suggest they watch and copy your marks too

2 - 3 years the adult needs to:

  • point out your child's name and look at other letters and words in your house/town
  • look at shapes and the scribbles together and show a real interest

3 - 4 years the adult needs to:

  • show your child how to write letters and words and read them back
  • show how to use different writing materials
  • talk about letters and pictures the child has drawn
  • show how to write notes and cards and lists etc.
  • show lots of interest in their creations
  • show the child that writing is useful e.g. messages in cards, words in a book, instructions for a game
  • encourage them to write their name on their pictures and displays
  • identify familiar letters in names
  • show them how to hold the pencil correctly

Up to 5 years old, an adult needs to:

  • show how to read a book from left to right
  • show them different names of people they know and talk about them
  • encourage correct letter formation
  • encourage a child to talk about their drawings and writing


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