Knowing the long summer holiday was looming, I ever-so-eagerly picked up a ‘gold stars’ workbook from the Parragon Books stand At Britmums Live.

I thought this could be the perfect quiet day activity, whilst also helping Arlo to practise his writing and fine motor skills, areas which are not his best.

The book comes with a big sheet of gold stars and the idea was that you place a gold star on each page once completed.

But when Arlo faltered on the very first page (the pages are meant to be done in order as there is a skill level progression), telling me he wouldn’t be able to do it, I knew it was time to pack the book away till a later date.

I know my eldest well enough to understand that he takes a precise approach to everything, and won’t attempt a task until he knows he’s 100% capable of doing it properly. Anything else is time-wasting, apparently. Attempts to encourage him before he is ready generally lead to tears.

I don’t think he has any particular interest in drawing, and at the age of almost-four, he has yet to draw anything that is not an undiscernible scribble.

He does, however, have a lot more interest in learning to write. His preschool should take all the credit for aiding his progression with forming letters – I’ve done practically nothing.

Due to Arlo’s preference of learning alone in his own time, I tend to take a pretty passive, inactive approach to helping him, whilst still maintaining all the encouragement he needs (it’s a tricky balance, I tell you). And so it was, a few months ago, that I came to discover that he could write all the letters of his name, separately.

When I suggested he try to write the letters all in one go so it spells his name, he refused immediately and there were tears. So, I hung back. And then, last week I turned around to this: (always have that big camera handy!)

learning to write

He had written his name on his magnadoodle, unassisted. This was the first time Arlo had ever written his name. And the first time he’d really drawn ANYTHING that wasn’t a scribble.

So. Proud.

Swiftly after that, in the same sitting, he was confidently writing ‘Rory’, ‘Mama’, and ‘Dada’ too.

(He doesn’t think his C’s are quite neat enough so he’s now decided he’s better off drawing an ‘O’ and then erasing the latter half to make a perfect C shape. We’re trying to wean him off the magnadoodle.)

I keep finding various scraps of paper dotted around the house, our names written on them.

I’m currently reading the Matched series by Allie Condie. I’m not particularly loving it, but I mention it because one of the main themes of the books is the idea that learning how to write gives you the power to make your mark in life. That your own words are the most powerful.

Watching Arlo at the very beginning of this process has me excited at the thought of what’s in store for him in the future, all the things he will be able to create and all the ways he will be able to put his own stamp on the world.

A summer highlight for sure.


  1. That’s wonderful! Well done Arlo! And I completely agree about the power of words. I think it starts with speaking and writing is the natural progression, it’s the power to tell our own story.

  2. Aww, he looks so proud of himself! My daughter does not like practicing her writing at all. She always ends up drawing instead, lol. I figure she will learn in her own time. 🙂

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