Path to Numbers Writing: A Longitudinal Study with Children from 3.5 to 5.5 Years Old

Daniela Lucangeli, Patrizio Tressoldi, Anna Maria Re


The issue of the role of number words in preschoolers’ arithmetic development is still open. The development of
writing Arabic numerals 1 to 9 under dictation was investigated longitudinally, testing a cohort of 20 children at
six-month intervals from age 3.5 to 5.5 years. The specific aim was to examine how children arrive at a correct
representation of Arabic numerals, and explore whether this development has a unique or multiple paths.
For each subject we were able to observe the types of number notation used at each of the five evaluation
The data obtained indicate that, at each age, most children use different types of number representation but also
that the path to correct Arabic representation is not unique. We identified five paths to correct numeral writing,
which we defined as 1) linear, 2) forward and backward, 3) no symbols, 4) symbols, and 5) an early number
developmental path.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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