Home Handwriting The 4 Stages of Handwriting Development in Kids

The 4 Stages of Handwriting Development in Kids

Published on March 14, 2011 by in Handwriting

The 4 Stages of Handwriting Development in Kids:

Pre-printing strokes usually develop in a specific sequence. However, while there are general age guidelines for when each stage develops, children will individually vary in the amount of time needed to pass through each stage. The information below offers some general developmental information:

  • Ages 1 and 2- The child engages in random scribbles. As the child gets closer to age 2, the scribble will often develop a very distinct direction-horizontal, diagonal or vertical. This is most often done in imitation of an adult’s writing. At this stage, the child is not ‘copying’ or reproducing a specific shape from a picture. The child is ‘imitating’ or reproducing a form after watching someone else draws it first.

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  •  Ages 2 and 3- The child can copy vertical and horizontal lines. As the child becomes nearer to age 3, circles may also be copied.
  • Ages 3 and 4- The child can imitate and then copy a cross or a plus sign. By age 4, the child may be able to imitate and then copy a square.
  • Age 5- The child can imitate and copy a triangle. Once this is clearly established, children are capable of learning to print. Given these developmental levels, it is apparent that most children will not enter kindergarten having mastered printing. The time in both prekindergarten and kindergarten should be spent building the foundation of prerequisite writing skills.

Prepared by Frederick County Public Schools, Frederick, Maryland

Sources: “The Development of Pre-Printing Skills.” found on last visited July 21, 2003.

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