Learning to read and write is a developmental process that begins at a very early age. These skills stem from a child’s basic need to communicate. During infancy, children learn to communicate through verbal and non-verbal actions. As they grow, children begin to use symbols to communicate. Research has shown that very young children can understand that the written word symbolizes language. Children learn that ‘writing’ is another form of communication in which they can share their thoughts and ideas. This is an integral step in literacy development.
I was visiting some friends in the Young 3’s class the other day. I had the amazing opportunity to interact with some young writers. Yes writers. At three! I watched and listened to their thinking. What they told me was powerful. Each mark on the paper had meaning, whether it was a scribble or a conventional letter. Squiggles and lines became a story about a new baby sister who liked flowers. Letters were used to write part of their name, or even their friends’ names. This child-directed activity was a meaningful learning experience as they made their thinking and ideas visible through writing. I am so thankful that I could be a part of it.