Your kids’ first attempt at the writing process is called emergent writing, and it begins when they’re as young as 2 years old! When kids create drawings and symbolic markings, they are imitating the act of writing to represent their thoughts and ideas.

Emergent Writing Concepts Graphic

You can download this resource HERE.

The Emergent Writing Framework


Conceptual Knowledge

Learning that writing has a purpose, and that print is meaningful

  • Kids become aware of things in their environment, like the red street sign says “Stop”
  • Recognition that certain symbols, logos,and markings have specific meanings
Procedural Knowledge

The mechanics of letter and word writing

  • Learning the alphabetic code, including how to form letters and the sounds associated with each letter

  • Practicing and developing fine motor skills and finger dexterity is beneficial

Generative Knowledge

Writing phrases and sentences that convey meaning

  • Translating thoughts into writing

  • Experimenting with different forms of writing, such as creating lists or composing a story


Set the Foundation
  • Encourage drawing, scribbling, and imitating writing
  • Practice fine motor skills
  • Read together as much as you can – books, signs, menus, anything!
  • Label things with your kids’ names and talk about the letters in their names
  • Send letters together – have your kids dictate to you and watch as you write


Adapted from NAEYC