March 27th is National Scribble day! What better way to celebrate scribble day than to help explain the importance of scribbling and to give some tips on how to encourage scribbling within the classroom or at home.
Scribbling is the first steps in learning to write. It helps build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Scribbles may not look like much to adults, but this is how your child begins to understand how letters and numbers are formed and connected. They are a child’s way of writing their thoughts. These scribbles are there first steps in using the skills needed for writing.
There are four developmental phases of writing with description stages within each phase. The first phase is a pre-literate phase. The is the scribbling stage. You have the first stage which is the scribble stage which is where a child will pick up a crayon and make random marks on paper or anything else that may be around to write on.
The second stage is the symbolic stage. This is where pictures and scribbles have a meaning or an intended message. They then move onto the directional scribble stage where they scribble from left to right. These scribbles are intended as writing that communicates a message. The fourth stage in the pre-literate phase is symbolic/mock letters. In this stage children form letter like formations which may resemble letters but aren’t intentional, interconnected with numbers and spacing is rarely represented.
When a child moves into the emergent phase of writing you will see strings of letters, then groups of letters, which will then move into labeling pictures, and into environmental print. From there they will move into the third phase which is called transitional. This phase includes letter/ word representation, the first and last letter representation, to medial letter sounds. From this phase, they move into the final phase which is called Fluent. In the fluent stage, you will see children go from beginning phrase writing to sentence writing to six traits of writing. The following Stages of Writing Development document is a resource tool to help you see the progression of the scribbling stage to the writing stage of children.
Every teacher and parent can do these following tips to help encourage writing at home no matter the age. These following tips will encourage children to try without any judgment and know that they are able to freely write and learn on their own.
1. Set a specific place either in the classroom or at the house that is filled with paper, crayons, pencils, and markers. Allow children to use them freely whenever they want. Allow them to see the joy in scribbling and drawing. This is a great way to allow children to find a calm down place if they are angry or upset.
2. Ask parents to bring in office paper that has print on one side that they were going to throw away. The children will enjoy scribbling and drawing on the back of the paper and it is free for the classroom.
3. Put away the coloring books. Allow children to be open to making their pictures and use their ideas. It doesn’t matter if you can’t identify it. The children can.
4. Encourage writing during play. Children can make signs in the block area or be a waiter and write down an order in dramatic play to writing down a cure for the chicken pox in the science area. There are many things they could do with a pencil and paper in centers. Make clipboards out of cardboard and cut paper in half or even fourths with a pencil taped to a string on the clipboard. This is an excellent way for children to have the opportunity to write and draw their ideas.
5. If kiddos are having a hard time in the classroom ask them if they would like to draw a picture for mom or dad or write them a letter.
Make scribbles and drawing important in the classroom.
Here are a few great ideas on how to show the children the importance of writing and drawing in the classroom.
1. Talk to the parents. Explain the importance of writing and scribbling for their children. Explain to them that you as the teacher are going to encourage it by displaying and being positive and they need to do the same. If children have a positive experience with scribbling and drawing, then they will be more likely to keep doing so and perfecting their talent. But if a child has a negative experience, then they are going to stop, and you are going to have a harder time getting them where they need to be.
2. Hang drawings and scribbles on the walls where children can see them. This will help see that their work is essential and it will encourage them to keep trying.
3. Have a conversation about what they have drawn. Ask them to explain their work of art to you. As they describe their masterpiece write a caption on the paper so that everyone will know what it is about.