Writing Readiness Exercises
Preschool classrooms with younger participants should start out by copying straight lines from the left side of the paper to the right. Take a plain piece of paper, mark a line made up of dots along the length of it, and then ask the children to connect the dots – from the left to the right – across the paper. Offer the children differently colored pencils for the exercise, and they have the first opportunities to learn how to move a pencil, as opposed to a crayon, in the direction of the written word.
Move on to zig-zag lines and also curved lines. This prepares the preschoolers for the rounded letters as well as the sudden edges of capital letters. Again, dot the paper for the children, and emphasize that the tracing must be done from the left to the right. You may observe that some children are still experimenting with right and left hand drawing. Resist the urge to specify a right handed grip, and instead encourage your students to use the hand that feels best.
If your children are flying through these fine motor development activities at record speeds, you may now be ready to trace some short diagonal lines from left to right and also right to left. Always underscore that the children need to start at the very left side of the page and work their way across the page to the right. U-shapes and circles are next, and present the more challenging aspects of forming small shapes.
For children that are finding these activities somewhat challenging to their fine motor skills, you may wish to start with some prewriting activities before venturing on to these exercises.