Why can’t my child hold a pencil correctly? When will he be able to write his name? These are common questions among parents, and there are strategies to help your child learn to print. Your kiddo may not be able to write a recognizable sentence yet, but preschoolers should be participating in the early stages of printing at home. Engaging your little learner in pre-writing activities and tools help to develop fine motor skills and stimulate writing.
Beginning Finger Skills
Picking up, holding, manipulating and putting down objects are the foundational skills needed to hold a writing implement. Writing requires a pincer grasp, finger strength and coordination. Provide your young one with objects to manipulate, such as zippers to zip, buttons to button, finger paints, an easel and paint brush, and pouring sand and water. All these activities will help to develop finger dexterity.
Start With Clay to Form Letters
The use of clay can allow your child to use finger and hand muscles as she pats, pounds, pokes, cuts and rolls this material. Roll the modeling clay into snakes to form alphabet letters. Using her hand, your child can trace atop the clay letter to sequence the strokes needed to print it.
When a preschooler fills a page with scribbles and can describe what he has drawn, this shows he is literate and on his way to conceptualizing the printing process. This is the time to prepare blank booklets to encourage your youngster to record ideas. Be available to take dictation. Once your child realizes that what he says can be written down and understood by others, he is on his way to becoming a writer.
Printing Names and Words
Encourage your kiddo to sign her artwork with her name. Provide a printed copy for her to visualize. Explain to your child that this printed word, her name, gives her ownership of her masterpiece. This is a powerful idea. After your child has mastered writing her name, move on to two- and three-letter sight words.
Tools of the Trade
Encourage your little printer to enjoy a variety of writing surfaces, such as sheets of paper, construction paper and butcher paper for scroll-like projects. Make sure he starts with chubby crayons and primary pencils that are easier to grasp. Include chalk and chalkboards or white boards to vary the writing experience. You can even write outside on the sidewalk with large pieces of chalk for a playful activity. Be proud of what he has printed, and enjoy this experience together.