Yolo County Library

Pre-writing skills

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Surprise! Writing does not magically happen when a child picks up a pencil and begins to write.

To begin writing, children must cultivate certain skills. Generally, children between the ages of three and four are not yet developed enough to trace letters. For this to occur, motor skills need to be established. Children need to learn these skills.

Motor skills help children’s development – it even helps them learn to read! When children know the shape of letters, the brain finds it easier to organize letters and form words.

To begin writing, ten skills need to be mastered, today we will talk about five of them:

1. Upper Extremity Strength

To help your little one get strong, you can use yoga poses that focus on the arms and the hands. Check out this cute book about all the yoga animal poses or use this instructional video to continue practicing yoga poses with your child.

2. Bilateral integration.

Bilateral integration is the ability to use the limbs on both sides of the body at the same time. To develop this skill, your child can manipulate play dough or trace various figures by alternating their little hands with popsicle sticks.

Popsicle sticks arranged in two different shapes: Triangle and Square. A circle of pink playdough (rolled into a snake and connected into a circle) beside a tray of multi-colored playdough.

3. Finger isolation

Learning to move fingers individually or pinching them like crab claws may seem like a futile skill. However, these exercises will make it easier for your child to grip the pencil firmly when it comes to writing. Singing songs and using the fingers to relate what is happening in the story are excellent exercises for mastering this skill. Here are two different songs to help your children learn to isolate their fingers:

Clackety Clack                     Thumbkin

4. Object Manipulation

To help your little one develop and hone this skill, you can use items such as the sensory books and toys contained in our Storytime Kit: Toddler Time.

Video 1 : Small motor skills

Video 2:  Small motor skills

5. Hand-eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination is not only necessary for balance or sports. It is also an important skill for learning to write because it allows children to use their vision and muscles simultaneously when writing. Your child can practice this skill by picking up stuff with clothespins or stringing pasta between thread or pipe cleaners.

A person is putting a piece of tube pasta onto a pink pipe cleaner. Two pieces of pasta have already been threaded and two more are waiting to be added to the chain. A person is picking up a small, craft pom-pom with a small clothspin.





TAGS:  Writing, Motor Skills, Hand-eye coordination

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