Prewriting Skills : How to make preschoolers ready for writing?

Prewriting skills are skills that kids need to master before they are ready to be able to write. It’s also known as writing readiness. Achieving mastery in these skills enables kids to be able not just to write but also trace, draw figures, fill colors & imitate text. When most schools start introducing prewriting skills, they usually do it using shapes & strokes. Shapes such as circle, oval, triangle & square cover all strokes & curves a kid need to master to be able to write most alphabets. And practicing strokes like – I / \ U C etc further helps them in alphabet precision. Writing & imitating text as a skill usually comes by the age of 5.


Milestones & age appropriate expectations

So, how does writing progress? By the age of 7 – 8 months, kids develop a grasp and are able to hold objects in their hands well. By the time they are 2 years old, they should be able to make random horizontal, vertical and circular scribbles. By the time they are 3 years old, they should be able to imitate the horizontal, vertical & circular scribbles. By age of 4, they should be able to copy horizontal & vertical lines & circle. They should also be able to imitate the symbols of + / \ and a square. By 5 years of age, they should be able to grasp a pencil in writing position, imitate complex letters & shapes like X and triangles, trace a line etc. This is when they are ready for writing & can copy shape to shape complex letters & shapes like X & triangle & can recognize & distinguish between big vs. small lines & curves.



Activities to ensure & improve writing readiness in child

Here are some sample activities that can help improving writing readiness in kids.

  • Day to day activities such as peeling eggs & boiled potatoes, opening wide mouth bottles etc.
  • Craft activities such as sticking paper, wool, tapes etc
  • Using scissors
  • Playdough activities such as rolling, kneading with fingers, deconstructing etc.
  • Using tongs & tweezers
  • Threading & lacing activities
  • Games involving fingers, such as imitating an inchworm or spiders etc
  • Writing & drawing on a vertical surface like boards/papers on walls etc
  • Construction games such as Lego, blocks, Jenga etc
  • Practicing age appropriate pre-writing shapes as mentioned previously.


Apart from activities, what else can be done

Considering this as a benchmark its easy to see if your child is ready for writing or not. Although these mentioned skills are based on the average capabilities of a child, there are some exceptions where kids do achieve these milestones earlier, while there are also few cases where the child may be picking up a bit slow. There are some activities you can do to help kids catch up on these skills.

  • Get the child involved in activities such as lubber climbing, elbow crawling etc that strengthens the upper body.
  • Engage in pointing & poking games to make sure kids use just one finger to point and not the whole hand.
  • Encourage the child to do activities involving grasp like opening & closing nut bolts & bottles, playing puzzles, threading etc.
  • Concentrate on their finger strength by activities such as play dough deconstruction, kinetic sand activities, scrunching paper etc.
  • Play games involving Hand-eye coordination.
  • Lastly, praise instead of pressurizing the kid. Positive reinforcement has a lot of impact on kids.


Suggested Reading – Read this amazing article about 5 essential habits we must introduce to our kids.

You may also like...

19 Responses

  1. Meghna says:

    Wow! Shalu. This is just the article I was looking for. Are planning to put them in school ( finally ), so am worried about their writing ( fine motor skills )..


    Thats really great piece of information. I will be sending my little one from July to Play School so this is important information. Regards

  3. Deepika says:

    I was searching for a nice article for making preschoolers writing ready. And I am happy I found this one. My little one is now in the nursery and just started holding and making some letters.

  4. Sweetannu says:

    Such a great post. Hope all moms and teachers work towards developing fine motor muscles in young children before making them forcefully holding a pencil

    • The Dreamer Mum says:

      Yep, that’s the intention of writing this article. I see so many parents pushing their kids to just start writing in peer pressure, and that’s so wrong.

  5. Ruchie says:

    This is so important to develop this habit for preschoolers. Now school also take care of motor skills so well!!

  6. Varsh says:

    I didn’t know pre-writing involved so many activities. Luckily both my kids picked up writing easily, which sadly led to weird graffitti on my walls. Colouring and shapes are a good way to start.

  7. Tina Basu says:

    these are good pointers you have mentioned. my son started writing and coloring at a very young age. He is 4 now and can write and draw everything.

  8. Bushra says:

    You have summed up the helpful activities for involving kids in process of writing. Pinning this post

  9. Great post Shalu. Hope many parents and teachers find this one and approach pre-writing readiness wisely.

  10. Charu says:

    That’s quite an informative piece. Most parents do not know the correct age when to start with these activities. This post may help them.

  11. That’s quite an informative piece. Most parents do not know the correct age when to start with these activities. This post may help them.

  12. Jhilmil says:

    Those are some great ideas to develop fine motor skills in toddlers. I could recall trying many of these for my son.

  13. I remember how my daughter learned writing in nursery, I too tried the way you mentioned n her handwriting also improved a lot due to this method

  14. Snigdha says:

    The tips are so helpful.. My baby is small now but it is gonna helpful for me while starting his preschool .

  15. jhilmildsaha says:

    I can vouch for these tips as i myself had followed and it has helped my child a lot. Great pointers every parent should know.

  16. There are many things that can be done with kids before the beginning of pre-school, these are great tips and ideas to help kids work on the writing part. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply