Writing Expectations Before Kindergarten (Are There Any?!)

Updated on January 18, 2011
J.K. asks from Cuyahoga Falls, OH
11 answers

Hello! I was just wondering at about what age a child should be able to write his/her name independently? Just curious. My new 4 year old boy knows how to spell his name but still has trouble tracing the letters, even with my hand guiding his hand. He is in preschool and will there again next year, so I am basically just wondering what is to be expected at this age. Thanks mamas.

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D.S.

answers from New York on

I have children at my preschool who are beginning to write their name (not perfectly) and others who are just beginning. Do not worry, he will get it with another year of practicing. I also have a kindergarten class. By kindergarten they know how to write their letters, names etc, (but trust me it is not perfect) some letters are backwards etc. By first grade better penmanship is expected. No worries. Something you can do to help is to write his name in dotted lines and have him trace the dots. This is what we do. Any worksheets with dotted lines to follow help develop writing skills. Also, lacing toys, sorting toys help develop fine motor skills and will also help writing, and can be more fun for them then sitting doing dittos. I wouldn't worry.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Writing is about small muscle control and those skills are developing right up through first grade and beyond. The best things your son can do right now is to do as many things as he can that will help his hand/wrist/arm muscles.
Play dough, finger painting, coloring, cutting shapes from paper with safety scissors, stringing large beads, lacing cards, sidewalk chalk, connect the dots, etc.

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B.S.

answers from Saginaw on

When my daughter started kindergarten she knew how to write her name because she had been in preschool. However, it was not a requirement. If he has another year of preschool, yet, he'll for sure be writing it before Kindergarten. I wouldn't worry about.

My daughter didn't even recognize all the small letters of the alphabet or any sounds to the letters when she entered Kindergarten. She is now sounding out words and writing sentences. Its amazing how much they learn in Kindergarten now a days.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Please don't worry. Some kids enter kindergarten with no formal training as far as writing, etc and they do just fine.
It's different for all kids.
My daughter was super intelligent and left handed. She tended to write letters backwards. She had no dyslexia or anything, she just was getting things figured out in a right handed world.
Just keep practicing with no pressure. He's too little to worry yet about what will click.

Best wishes.

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B.C.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter was only expected to know her basic name (lower or all uppercase letters) and they taught them everything else that year. It's amazing what they learn in 9 months!!!

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

If he's in preschool, talk to the teachers about what to expect at this age. As far as prep for kindergarten, the preschool should know what your district is looking for and/or you can ask the school (or look it up online) to see if there are any areas your son needs to work on. It may simply be a matter of working on fine-motor skills.

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J.B.

answers from Atlanta on

At age 4 there is a wide range of expectations. Many 4 year olds can write their names perfectly, but have lots of trouble with all letters or if you spell a word -writing that word well. It's an age full of backwards letters and many mis-sized letters. Basically it's expected that children will enter kindergarten with a basic understanding of how to write many letters and how to write their names, but they're not expected to be writing and spelling other words or writing very well.

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D.K.

answers from San Francisco on

It depends on where your child will go for kindergarten. Many private schools require them to know and write the alphabet (not perfectly), write their names, and know the colors. I can't say what public schools expect because my kids went to a private kindergarten. If you are really concerned call where you think your child will go to kindergarten, then you will really know.

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S.C.

answers from Milwaukee on

I'm not sure what's expected, but I know when dd was 3 she could write her own name. When she was 2 1/2 she was in the preschool program at daycare. A great way they thought the kids to write letters is to use a highlighter and then to have them trace them. You can also find a ton of fun workbooks that show kids how to make the letters and give them practice. dd is in 4K (4yr old half day kindergarten) now and whereas she can read and knows all her letters, there are a lot of kids who don't. When my friend put her son in 5K, he still couldn't write his name or letters.

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S.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was told by one Kindergarten teacher that the biggest thing they wanted the kidsd to know when they come in is to recognize what their name looks like since it will be on their desk/cubbie-not how to write it. All kids learn differently and may not be ready to write as they need to build their fine motor skill to be able to write-do lots of drawing and I would wait for the tracing letters a little later-I am a preschool teacher and I really dont start till later in the year with the older kids-IF they show that they are ready.

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S.S.

answers from Goldsboro on

My mom was an assistant in kindergarten for years. This is what she and her teacher recommended kids should know when they enter kindergarten:
1. Their first and last name
2. Their telephone number
3. Their address
4. The first names of their parents
5. What bus they ride, if they ride a bus

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