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Emergent writing

Ellie-May (3 years, 11 months) gestured to

her marks, saying, "My mummy". Then pointing

to the marks at the top of the paper, explained,

"My name".    

     Ellie-May understands that marks can be used

for writing, and "mummy" and her own name

were very important to her. She had perhaps

picked up on the nursery's convention of writing a name at the top of a child's drawing or writing.




Shaheim (3 years, 8 months) drew a wavy-edged shape, adding the letters 'S', 'G' and 'Z' and some

smaller shapes inside it. Beneath it he drew

a line across the width of the page.

    "Clouds, circles, numbers and a track", he

announced.Then pointing to the Z, explained "

Look! A 'Z' ". Shaheim appeared to have thought

the appearance of his signs and symbols.For young children, numerals and letters will look very similar.

Tiyanni (3 years, 10 months) decided to write a

letter to her mum. She used small, separate

shapes as letter-like signs.







Shereen (4 years, 3 months) was playing

shops, and decided to write a "Shop Open"

sign, and another saying,"Shop Closed".


Note: Compare Shereen's sign for "shop closed", to Daniel's.







Holly's (4 years, 1 month) Vietnamese name

is Lay Hay Sun and her home language is

Cantonese. Here she has represented her

name twice, first as a small, zigzag writing-

like line(in red at the top), and then on the

right in Cantonese characters.



Zakiyah-Firdaus (3 years, 10 months) wrote

in emergent Arabic. To her mother's surprise

she had absorbed a great deal about written

Arabic at home from watching her brother

do his Arabic homework, including the right-

to-left orientation of Arabic characters. 

     Her mother confirmed that the first two

lines Zakiyah-Firdaus had written are from

the Arabic alphabet, and that further down

she had written the word "Allah" in Arabic.






Auden's (4 years and 4 months) first

language is  English and his mother

comes from Sri Lanka, He showed

his teacher Mrs Sutcliffe that he'd written

her name in Sri Lankan, and below it he

explained, "proper name" (referring to the

written English.) 

Using writing-like wavy lines, Jemima (4

years, 6 months) and explained that her

story was about "a little kitten with a




Elise's (3 years, 8 months) mum was working

in the local shop and gave her daughter a til

receipt to play with. Elise wrote her name

several times in the spaces on the receipt, 

recounting a story about dinosaurs as she did so.

The dinosaurs in her story had a few fights, then

Elise 'read', "The dinosaurs went home to have

their tea, the end!".

     She appeared to have drawn other personal 

experiences of listening to stories that are

resolved with a happy ending.


Callum read his typed message: "To Amy.

You love me from Callum

Alex read the letter he had typed: "Please Easter Bunny, Can you bring me some Easter eggs. Love Alex"








Alex's (4 years, 8 months) teacher had arranged

for her class to write to children of the same age

in another school. Alex read his letter:

    "Hello! I want you to write to me. I'd

like that. School's exciting - you can do typing

and we've got paper clips. I made an aeroplane

today and a puppet - two puppets! I made a sandwich with pocket-money bread! Love from Alex"

   Note: 'Pocket-money bread' was Alex's term

for Pitta bread, suggesting to him a purse into which you can put something.





"Droids, stones and Skywalker." Damian (4 years,

9 months) has used a range of letter- and numeral-like signs that are familiar to him.








Lydia wrote a letter to her teacher.