On Turning Seven

One recent January, I noticed something odd each time my class of first graders settled into their writing workshop tasks: A handful of children had begun writing with tiny, tiny letters. "You need to erase and write bigger," I would say, again and again. "That writing's too hard to read!" The children tried, but usually without much success. What, I wondered, could cause this change in handwriting habits? This handful of children had all turned seven during the fall or early winter. Could that be it?
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