The Importance of Pre-writing Skills

Cherry Trees Preschool

The Importance of Pre-writing Skills

What are pre-writing skills?

Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write. These skills contribute to a child’s ability to hold and use a pencil, and the ability to draw, write, copy and colour. A major component of pre-writing skills are the pre-writing shapes. These are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers and early drawings are comprised of. They are typically mastered in sequential order, and to an age specific level. These strokes include the following strokes; I , – , O , + , / , ? , \ , X          

Why are pre-writing skills important?

Pre-writing skills are essential for a child to be able to develop the ability to hold and move a pencil fluently and effectively and therefore produce legible writing. When these skills are underdeveloped it can lead to frustration and resistance due to the child not being able to produce legible writing or keep up in class due to fatigue. This can then result in poor self esteem and academic performance.

What can be done to improve pre-writing skills?

  • Hand dominance Determine which the dominant hand is and reinforce its frequent use in precision task performance.
  • Experience Encourage participation in activities that involve grasping and manipulating small objects such as drawing, puzzles, opening containers, threading or other related tasks.
  • Poking and pointing Practise tasks that use just one or two fingers e.g. poking games.
  • Praise and encouragement when your child engages in fine motor activities, especially if they are persistent when finding an activity difficult.
  • Hand and finger strength Try scrunching paper, using tweezers, using play dough and pegs.
  • Sensory play activities such as rice play, finger painting, to assist the development of tactile awareness.
  • Hand-eye coordination  Practise activities that involve hand-eye coordination like throwing and catching, and crossing the midline (e.g. reaching across the body to pick up items).
  • Upper limb strength Encourage play activities that develop the muscles in the upper limbs such as climbing ladders, wheel barrow walking.

Activities that can help improve pre-writing skills include;

  • Threading and lacing with a variety of sized laces.
  • Play dough activities that may include rolling with hands or a rolling pin, hiding objects such as coins in the play dough or just creative construction.
  • Scissor projects that could involve cutting out geometric shapes to then paste together to make pictures such as robots, trains or houses.
  • Tongs or teabags squeezers to pick up objects.
  • Drawing or writing on a vertical surface.
  • Everyday activities such as opening containers and jars.
  • Prewriting shapes Practise drawing the 9 prewriting shapes  –  I  O  +  /  \  X  ?        
  • Finger games Incy wincy spider.
  • Craft Make things using old boxes, egg cartons, wool, paper and sticky or masking tape.
  • Construction Building with Duplo, Lego, Mobilo or other construction toys.