Monday, August 8, 2011

Scribbles to Shapes

As children start to take interest in doodling with a pencil or crayon (typically around age 2), there is a developmental progression that eventually leads to early writing skills.  Keep in mind that this progression refers to 'copying' which means the child looks at a picture of the line/shape and imitates it (as opposed to watching someone draw the line/shape and then trying to do the same). The developmental order for most young children is:
  • Horizontal line
  • Vertical line
  • Circle
  • Plus sign (cross)
  • Square
  • Diagonal line
  • Triangle
  • Diamond
All of the lines and shapes are important for learning to write letters and numbers and the developmental progression helps to explain why some children can write their names earlier than others.  For example, while "LEO" will copy horizontal lines, vertical lines, and a circle, "SAM" will need to be able to copy more complicated diagonal lines to be able to copy his name.  Both names have the same number of letters, however, "SAM" will need more time to develop pre-writing skills to be able to copy the curvy "S" and the diagonals for "A" and "M".  I guess this could be one more thing for expectant parents to consider when choosing a name for their baby =)

Jen Dermody, OTR/L


  1. My son is just perfecting his doodling. This is a great aide to encourage him to start writing early. Thank you for this!

  2. Your very welcome! Doodles are a great thing too! It all helps with getting kiddos ready for writing :)
    Good luck!