Writing Readiness (Pre-Writing) Skills

Cutting and snipping activities with scissors are excellent ways for children to practice fine motor skills and control. Give your students lots of opportunities to practice their cutting skills with paper, string, card stock, even Play-Doh!

Why are writing readiness (pre-writing) skills important?

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.

  • Hand and finger strength: An ability to exert force against resistance using the hands and fingers that allows the necessary muscle power for controlled movement of the pencil.
  • Crossing the mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from a person’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides.
  • Pencil grasp: The efficiency of how the pencil is held, allowing age appropriate pencil movement generation.
  • Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a task such as handwriting.
  • Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading (e.g. holding and moving the pencil with the dominant hand while the other hand helps by holding the writing paper).
  • Upper body strength: The strength and stability provided by the shoulder to allow controlled hand movement for good pencil control.
  • Object manipulation: The ability to skilfully manipulate tools (including holding and moving pencils and scissors) and controlled use of everyday tools (such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, cutlery).
  • Visual perception: The brain’s ability to interpret and make sense of visual images seen by the eyes, such as letters and numbers.
  • Hand dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance, which allows refined skills to develop.
  • Hand division: Using just the thumb, index and middle finger for manipulation, leaving the fourth and little finger tucked into the palm stabilizing the other fingers but not participating.

Play-Doh Snakes

A letter card with yellow playdoh used to fill in the outline

Blue playdoh with the letter P scraped into it. Colorful straw segments stuck into the the outline of the letter and on the table next to it.

Flatten out a medium-size piece of Play-Doh on a flat surface. Then use a sharp object to draw a letter on the flattened area. (Make sure that the letter is large enough to be easily recognizable when filled with straws.) Cut plastic straws into one-inch segments. Let kids “trace” the letters with the colorful straw segments.

It is important to be aware of the different needs that left handed and right handed children have. As only 10% of the population is left handed, they are often left to navigate a very right handed biased world!

Imitating pre-writing shapes

When therapists use the term ‘imitate’ they mean that the child imitates movements that they have seen. So, the adult draws the shape before and with the child so that they can watch and imitate the movements. This is easier for the child as they don’t have to plan (or remember) the movement required.

Worksheets are a form of imitation as well as they provide a template for the child to work from. Some children may also need to watch the adult first to understand what to do on the worksheet. It is helpful to keep the same movements on the same sheet to help with reinforcement. So, straight lines on one sheet and curved on the next.

Recognising and matching pre-writing shapes

Being able to visually recognise and match pre-writing shapes is an important step to being able to draw them. It is impossible to draw something that you don’t have a visual representation of. For example, could you draw a saola? My guess is that most people reading this article haven’t heard of a saola and therefore won’t know what to draw.

Recognising oblique lines

A common difficulty I have seen in children with additional needs is that they struggle to identify their oblique lines. So, they see | / and \ as the same shape. These children need more support to firstly understand that a straight line (|) is different to an oblique line (/ \). I often call them ‘straight man’ and ‘falling over man’ to make the distinction. Having them physically move their bodies into the positions can also help to reinforce this.

Next, they need to understand the visual difference between / and \. Typically, these children also need support to identify the difference between straight (+) and oblique (x) crosses too. It can be helpful to use matching sheets which the child has to find one or the other of the shapes. And, also puzzles which match the different shapes.

When teaching them to draw oblique lines, it is important that the child always starts that the top of the shape. This means that you can reinforce the direction of movement. If they change where they start (i.e. between top and bottom) it is more confusing for them to learn.

Copying pre-writing shapes

Once a child can imitate a shape, the next step is copying it. By copying, I mean they can look at a pre-drawn version of it and make their own, without any help from an adult. When copying, they need to have an understanding of how to plan their movements. This is much more difficult for children with dyspraxia.

Sources:

https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/writing/writing-readiness-pre-writing-skills/
https://www.weareteachers.com/pre-writing-activities-for-preschoolers/
https://www.griffinot.com/pre-writing-shapes-what-are-they-and-how-to-teach-them/

How to Be Successful in School: 40 Practical Tips for Students

People who read literature also have an edge when it comes to interpersonal skills. Aside from the fact that reading will give you something to talk about in conversations with other people, studies have shown that people who read have more emotional intelligence than those who don’t.

Bonus Mindmaps

How to Become a SMARTER Person: 18 Habits to Be More Intelligent

There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.

Many people are under the general misconception that intelligence is a fixed value that’s set when they are young, and that it has no chance of changing as they grow older.

Research shows that improving our intelligence is possible at any age. The things we do and our outlook in life, such as possessing a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, can contribute greatly to improving our cognitive abilities.

There are simple habits that you can apply in your daily life that can help make you smarter. In today’s post, we feature 18 habits that are guaranteed to make you smarter.

Be consistent about your study time

Many students share with me that their mindset toward studying is that they’ll “study hard”. This might sound good, but it actually means that they don’t have a specific objective or plan.

They’re interested in attaining success at school and getting good grades, but they’re not clear about what positive actions they’re going to take in particular.

For each study session, set a clear objective as to what you intend to achieve. This might be to read through a set of notes thoroughly or complete 30 multiple-choice questions.

Writing

Writing is an essential part of scholarship. Some great scholars have been terrible writers—the strength of their ideas carried them to the top even though their writing style was abysmal. But these are the exceptions. Clarity and precision of expression can only help you as a scholar. Every writer needs to have read Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. To this Super Scholar would add two very practical books on writing: William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and William Stott’s Write to the Point. Finally, every writer, professional or not, would profit enormously from having a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. The latter is an incomparable reference work on all aspects of going from thought to word to printed page.

Writing isn’t just about filling up a pages with text. It’s also about persuasion. Scholars are not just in the business of thinking up great ideas. They also have to sell them. Indeed, you are selling yourself and your ideas when you apply to college, graduate school, your first teaching position, and especially when you’re trying to get tenure. For this reason critical thinking and rhetorical skills are indispensable to the scholar’s craft. A great book on rhetoric is Edward Corbett’s Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Besides dealing with the basics of rhetoric, it is filled with very helpful advice for the budding writer. Especially useful is Corbett’s suggestion that if you really want to improve your writing, take some great writer and copy a one or several paragraphs by him/her that particularly strike you and do it over and over again BY HAND. Don’t just type them out but write them out in cursive. That way the writer’s style seeps into your very being.

Another useful book on formulating persuasive arguments in your writing is Nancey Murphy’s Reasoning and Rhetoric in Religion. Don’t let the title fool you. Although the book draws many of its examples from philosophy and religion, the lessons on argumentation that it lays out are universal in scope. Also useful here would be a good book on critical thinking of the sort taught in a first or second year college philosophy course. Gary Jason’s Critical Thinking: Developing an Effective Worldview is quite good but overpriced.

Ask Whys When Encountering Problems

Technology does wonders for the modern world, but in some ways, technological dependence stunts the brain’s capacity for problem solving, adapting to new environments, and being a reliable resource for practical things like simple mathematics and navigation.

Finger-painting in preschool was not only a fun activity; it helped open up the mind to new possibilities and ways of solving problems. An artistic mindset creates new opportunities to find new solutions, fresh inspiration, and peaceful confidence.

The blend of these elements in both personal and professional environments allows ordinary people to shine by becoming an innovative thinker and inventive leader. Find ways to incorporate creativity into the dull grind of daily tasks.

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References:

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/become-smarter/
https://www.daniel-wong.com/2018/01/30/be-successful-in-school/
https://superscholar.org/features/7-skills-become-super-smart/
https://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/you-these-20-things-every-day-youll-become-smarter.html
http://getbettergradesnow.com/

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