What are prewriting skills?
Prewriting skills are the abilities children need before they begin holding a pencil and start writing. These skills include a child's ability to hold and use a pencil, the ability to draw, write, copy, and color. Most often, parents push their children to begin writing by handing them a pencil and instructing them to copy letters. However, this method is laborious for children as it is a completely new experience. For adults, trying something new and doing it for the first time can be stressful, it is the same for children if not more stressful. In this case, introducing writing should be a learning process where letters are taught through a sensory approach. Sensorimotor and prewriting skills that contribute to a child's developing brain engage the senses and can help your child to build connections in the brain that reinforce the relationship between the shapes of the letters they are forming and the names and sounds of the letters being created.
To accompany your child in their learning journey, the Nacho Preescolar series is a great way to continue developing fine motor skills, pre-writing skills, cognitive development, spatial awareness, and visual perception. These books are practical and progressive reflecting a child's chronological cognitive development. Many of the activities within the book include many pre-writing practices such as those seen on pages 16 through 20 where children follow along with the book to carry out tracing exercises. Within the book, you will also find coloring activities that are fundamental in the development of writing skills. Among other topics, the Nacho Preescolar series introduces colors, numbers, body parts, shapes, and vowels.
With these fun activities below, your child or your students will be ready to start writing when they're ready to grab a pencil. The ideas in this article are designed primarily for preschoolers ages 4 and up.
- Shaving Cream Writing!
Get ready for this to be a little messy! For this, you can print out a page from the Nacho Preescolar book (for example page 55), or have a page with different letter tracings on it. Then, place a clear transparent sheet over it. Once the clear sheet is over the page, spread shaving cream on top. Your child will love the fact that they’re actually being asked to get their hands messy with shaving cream. Children will have the opportunity to trace the letters with their fingers or a brush. This is one sensory activity that they’ll more than likely spend hours upon hours doing.
- Playdough Shapes
Using playdough to shape and mold letters is a great way to focus on the shapes that make up each letter. You can use playdough to roll, squish, and shape for hours of sensory fun. Try any of these three techniques;
- Rolling playdough snakes and using the snakes to form letters
- Press letter stamps into flattened slabs of dough
- Roll out sheets of playdough and use alphabet cookie cutters to cut out letters.
Your child will love being able to use playdough and beads to create letters. Simply push the playdough into a flat lid, flatten it out and trace out the letter for your preschooler. They can then work their fine motor skills of picking up the small beads to outline the letter.
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Written by: Valeria Flores. University of California Los Angeles. Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Linguistics. Bilingual teacher.