It’s always an exciting and overwhelming feeling to watch your little one grow up and learn new life skills. Most life skills are learnt when you are young, and you go on improving and improvising on them. One such important life skill is writing. Do you remember those slanting and standing lines we had to draw as children before we were taught the alphabet? Looking back at it, that process may seem useless, but it, in fact, helped us write the alphabet better. Writing is a very important life skill that we use throughout our lives. However, like any other life skill, this skill is taught to us in a step-wise progressive manner. Before learning to write the alphabet of any language, it is important to learn the strokes that are required to draw those alphabets. These are called pre-writing strokes. It is necessary for young children to master these pre-handwriting strokes to be able to pick up writing alphabets easily.
What Are Pre-Writing Strokes?
To put it simply, pre-writing strokes for nursery skills are the basic skills that children need to develop before they are ready to draw or write. These skills may not seem necessary, but they play a big role in building a strong foundation for little ones to build their writing skills on. These skills contribute greatly to a child’s ability to hold and use a pencil and ability to draw, write, copy, and colour. Shapes form a great component of pre-writing skills. These shape strokes are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers, and early drawings are comprised of. Each level is taught based on how old the child is.
Importance Of Pre-Writing Skill
Pre-writing strokes in lkg are very important as they form the foundations of writing and drawing. For any life skill, it is important that the foundations are strong to support whatever comes on top of it. They help the child get familiar with holding and moving a pencil comfortably. They also help your child effectively move the pencil around, which produces legible handwriting. Pre-writing skills help your child build eye-hand coordination, finger strength, grip strength, and wrist movement. If these skills remain underdeveloped, it leads to handwriting that you will have trouble reading which can lead to frustration and resistance. This might make your child feel like they can’t ‘keep up’ in class and can lead to even more frustration. In worse cases, this can affect your child’s self-esteem and academic performance.
Development Sequence Of Pre-Writing Stroke By Age
There are a total of nine pre-writing strokes that children need to master before they can move on to writing or drawing other complex shapes and alphabets. These are taught in a sequence depending on how old the child is and their individual skills. The developmental sequence of pre-writing strokes are:
- Vertical Line – (Age 2 imitates)
- Horizontal Line – (Age 2 1/2 imitates)
- Circle Shape – (Age 2 1/2 imitates)
- Cross Shape (+) – (Age 3 1/2 imitates)
- Square Shape – (Age 4)
- Right/Left Diagonal Line – (Age 4 1/2)
- X Shape – (Age 5)
- Triangle (Age 5)
The nine pre-writing strokes must first be imitated by children, followed by copying, and then mastered. Your little one can then move on to learning to write letters and numbers. These nine strokes consist of lines and simple shapes. The order mentioned above is the same order in which children must learn in order to master pre-writing skills. Practising these can be challenging, and it can be frustrating for a lot of children. The best possible approach to teach your child this skill is by coming up with creative ways to incorporate these shapes, which will pique your child’s interest.
What Are The Skills Necessary To Develop Pre-Writing Stroke?
There are a few prerequisites to pre-writing stroke development. Your child must have some other basic skills before they can be taught pre-writing strokes.
Some of these skills are as follows:
- Hand and Finger Strength: Your child must have considerable strength in their hands and fingers to be able to move against the resistance of the paper while using a pencil. This movement also needs to be a controlled movement.
- Crossing the Mid-line: Your child must be able to cross the imaginary line running from a person’s nose to the pelvis, diving the body into the left and right sides.
- Bilateral Integration: Using both hands together while one hand dominates the other.
- Pencil Grasp: Your child must be efficient in holding the pencil (it depends on age too).
- Hand-eye Coordination: Your child should be able to process information received from the eyes and be able to control, guide and direct the hands in handwriting.
- Upper body Strength: Your child’s shoulders should allow enough strength and stability for controlled hand movement.
- Visual Perception: Brain’s ability to interpret and make sense of visual stimuli (like letters and numbers).
- Object Manipulation: Ability to skilfully and properly manipulate tools such as pencils and brushes.
- Hand Dominance: Consistent use of one hand for the task of writing allows refined skills to develop.
- Hand Division: Be able to use just the thumb, index, and middle finger to manipulate and move the pencil, leaving the others just for support.
Activities That Will Help Your Child Learn Pre-Writing Stroke
There are many things you can do to improve your child’s pre-writing skills. Some activities you can do are mentioned below:
1. Tracing Shapes With Objects
Put out a mat or some chart paper and give your child some coins. Start with simple shapes such as lines, and show your child how to place the coins in a straight line. Encourage your child to do the same and progressively make it more challenging.
2. Play Finger Games
Play games which encourage finger involvement (such as itsy-bitsy spider). This will help your child have better hand-eye coordination.
3. Construction Games
Use Legos or other building-block activities to improve your child’s fundamental skills. You can also use these blocks to encourage your little one to trace shapes.
One of the best activities you can do is to give your child coloured markers or pencils and a blank sheet. Allow your child to scribble freely on the sheet. This helps with your child’s grip and understanding of space.
5. Controlled Scribbling
Take a sheet of paper and draw a box on it. Tell your child to scribble only in the box. Gradually, keep decreasing the size of the box and make it more challenging by telling your child to only draw lines or to only draw circles.
6. Every-day Activities
Allow your child to participate in activities like opening jars or holding things which will help improve their grip and their coordination.
Play a fun activity with tongs. Place small items on the floor and encourage your child to pick them up using tongs.
8. Vertical Drawing or Writing
Challenge your child by encouraging them to draw or write on a vertical surface.
Crafting things increases your hand-eye coordination and allows better creative thinking.
Encourage your little one to use child-safe scissors. Show them how to precisely cut out shapes.
Enjoy these activities with your child and watch their hand precision become better with each guided and freestyle stroke that they make. They will become savvy writers in no time!