Pre-writing skills

Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write. These skills contribute to the 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. 

Pre-writing skills are essential for the 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 to ‘keep up’ in class due to fatigue. This can then result in poor self-esteem and academic performance.

Building blocks necessary to develop pre-writing skills.
  • Hand and finger strength
  • Crossing the mid-line
  • Pencil grasp
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Bilateral integration
  • Upper body strength
  • Object manipulation
  • Visual perception
  • Hand dominance
  • Hand division

Age wise Pre-writing expectation

1 -2 years

  • Randomly scribbles
  • Spontaneously scribbles in vertical/horizontal and/or circular direction
  • Imitates a horizontal/vertical/circular direction

2 – 3 years

  • Imitates a horizontal line
  • Imitates a vertical line
  • Imitates a circle

3 – 4 years

  • Copies a horizontal line
  • Copies a vertical line
  • Copies a circle
  • Imitates  +
  • Imitates  / and \
  • Imitates a square

4 -5 years

  • Copies a +
  • Traces a line
  • Copies a square
  • Copies a / and \
  • Imitates  X
  • Imitates  Δ
  • Grasps pencil in writing position

5 -6 years

  • Copies  X
  • Copies  Δ
  • Recognises between a big and small line or curve