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My son is nearly 5 and doesn’t know how to write his name
Donna Cleveland
He’s trying to tell you something, Donna, and I hope you get the message. He’s trying to tell you the same thing that thousands of children his age are trying to tell their parents these days: “What you are trying to get me to do is not appropriate for me just yet.”

If we try to push our children too hard into early academic skills, we can do more harm than good. It sounds as though you have taught him some wonderful things, and these will be useful to him when he starts to kindergarten. (Incidentally, you didn’t mention whether he knows his last name. That is important safety information that children need to know when they start school.)

Mentally connecting with the printed word is necessary before children show any concern for being able to print or write. The best way for this to happen is by daily reading to your child—and having him see you read. Make outings to the library a regular occurrence, and let him choose his own books. Read the titles of the books to him, and repeat them at home when you read the books. Or ask him to bring you a particular book, which you identify by title or picture. “Bring me the book that has a yellow truck on the cover.” In time he will want to be able to recognize certain letters or words. After that it is only a short step to wanting to produce them.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education