Parent ResourcesPre-Writing Skills - North Valley Pediatric Therapy

Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they learn to write. These skills add to the child’s ability to hold and use a pencil, and the ability to draw, write, copy, and color. An important component of prewriting skills are the pre-writing shapes. These are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers, and early drawings are made up of. They are typically mastered in sequential order, and to an age-specific level. These strokes include the following strokes: |, —, O, +, /, ◻, \, X, Δ, and ✦.

What skills are important building blocks to develop pre-writing readiness?

Hand and finger strength: To help with the controlled movement of the pencil Upper body strength: Good shoulder strength and stability allow for controlled hand movements and good pencil control.
Crossing midline: Crossing the middle of the body Object manipulation: The ability to manipulate a variety of tools (pencils, scissors, utensils, etc.)
Pencil grasp: How the pencil is held following age-appropriate grasp progression Visual perception: The brain’s ability to identify and interpret visual images seen by the eyes
Hand-eye coordination: Processing the information from the eyes to control the hands in performing tasks Hand dominance: Consistent use of one hand for completing tasks (should establish hand dominance by age 5)
Bilateral Coordination: Using two hands together with one hand leading Hand division: Using just the thumb, index, and middle finger for manipulating objects with the fourth and pinky finger tucked into the palm

 

Progression of Pre-writing Skills

Age: 1 Year

Pre-Writing Stroke Description
Vertical and Horizontal Scribbling
  • Spontaneously scribbles in vertical/horizontal and/or circular direction
  • By 2 years old, children should be able to copy independently

Age: 2 Years

Pre-Writing Stroke Description
Vertical lines |
  • We call this “ZIP” like a zipper, starting the line at the top
  • By 2 years 10 months, the child should copy independently
Horizontal lines —
  • We call this “ZOOM” like a car, starting from left to right
  • By 2 years 6 months to 3 years, the child should copy independently
Circle O
  • Starting circles at the top and going counter-clockwise
  • By 3 years old the child should be able to copy independently

Age: 3 Years

Pre-Writing Stroke Description
Cross +
  • Making the vertical line first and horizontal line second
  • The lines should be symmetrical
  • By 3 years and 5 months, the child should copy independently

Age: 4 Years

Pre-Writing Stroke Description
Square ◻
  • Starting on the left, making a vertical line down, horizontal line over to the right, vertical line up, and horizontal line over to the left
  • – “Down, over, up, over”
  • Making sure all four corners are sharp
  • By 4 years and 2 months, the child should copy independently
Diagonal lines \ /
  • Making sure both diagonal lines are truly sideways, this will help with letter formation
  • By 4 years 7months, the child should copy independently
X
  • Making sure to cross in the middle and that both lines are symmetrical
  • By 5 years the child should copy independently

Age: 5 Years

Pre-Writing Stroke Description
Triangle Δ*After triangles, letter formation can begin
  • Starting with the left diagonal line first from top to bottom, horizontal line from left to right, to diagonal line from bottom to top
  • By 5 years and 5 months, the child
Diamond ✦
  • Starting diamond on the left and making four equal sides with sharp corners
  • By 6 years old the child should copy independently

 

Blog by:

Caitlin O. – MOT, OTR/L

(Occupational Therapist)

 

 

Resource: https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/writing/writing-readiness-pre-writing-skills/

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