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Supporting a young child before they learn to write

Before any handwriting instruction begins your child will need to have developed certain skills. Most of these skills will have developed naturally during early childhood years.

 

The following activities can be used to help the development of manipulation skills which are necessary before any formal handwriting instruction begins.  Motor control, hand/eye co-ordinator, muscular control, and visual memory, are all skills that need to be developed.

 

Concepts such as left, right, top, bottom, up, down, over, under, above, in, out, size, shape, beside, below, high, low, between, before, after, next, start, finish, big and little will also need to be developed.

 

Some activities that will aid the development of these skills and concepts are:

  • finger painting

  • painting with a brush

  • drawing - pencil, felt pen, crayon

  • measuring and pouring water

  • screwing and unscrewing jar tops

  • modelling in sand, clay, play-dough

  • tearing and folding paper

  • block building

  • constructing toys

  • pattern - making

  • sorting - objects, shapes

  • matching - objects, shapes, pictures, words, letters

  • finding differences - objects, shapes, pictures, words, letters

  • sewing. lacing, buttoning, buckling, tying laces

A child needs to have plenty of opportunities to develop the following before handwriting instruction can begin:

 

Visual discrimination -recognising small differences 

  • matching games, e.g. 'snap', dominoes

  • recognising the 'odd one out' in a sequence

  • finding hidden objects in pictures, environmental materials

     

    Visual memory -remembering a shape

  • memory games - objects are shown then covered - an attempt is made to recall the items

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