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Writing as an Early Learning Activity

Early childhood is the right time to be thinking about writing!

Reading and writing are connected skills that help build and support each other. If you are able to pick up a pencil and write, try it out, paying special attention to all the tiny finger muscles involved. For young children to eventually learn how to write, they need to grow and nurture these muscles! The skill of writing will also support them in making meaning of written words! This is where you come in.


  • As soon as your child can hold a large crayon, provide unlined paper and plenty of opportunities to explore scribbling.
  • Ask questions about what your child is drawing instead of just praising them. Who is that? Show me your favorite part of this picture. What color(s) did you use?
  • Encourage fine motor skill development by checking out lift-the-flap and other tactile books to let your child explore. Get personalized book suggestions for tactile books and more by using the Library’s Materials Match form.
  • Some children may have a hard time with writing activities due to physically based disabilities. Consider adaptive tools like pencil grippers and chunky crayons if your child has limited manual dexterity. If you are looking for other ideas, contact the Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians.
  • As your child begins to master scribbling, encourage them to write or trace letters. A great place to start is with their name or the names of their important people like “mom”, “dad” or another family member’s name.
  • Is your child writing letters with more confidence? Ask them to label their drawings. Spelling and correct letter orientation and order will come with lots of practice.


  • Writing activities build print awareness. When kids know the printed word holds meaning, they will be more ready to learn how to read it.
  • Writing strengthens letter knowledge. After kids know the names of the letters, they can begin to learn the different sounds the letters make. Visit your neighborhood Library location and talk with your child about what letters they see. Ask the Children’s Staff what A-B-C books they have to share!
  • When kids can scribble or draw, you learn about how they see the world and can tell stories about what is on the page, no matter how simple. This builds narrative skills and will help young children read because they will understand how to identify beginning, middle and end.

With these ideas in mind, how can you encourage writing with your child? What questions do you have that the Library can help with? Ask us in chat, by calling 412.622.3114 or by stopping into your neighborhood Library. Writing is one of five important early learning activities. Learn about the other four by revisiting the Early Learning Activities page!

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