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Pre-writing skills - tips and advice

For a child to be able to write and form letters properly, they need initially to learn how to copy and form simple shapes. Copying the marks or shapes drawn by parent or teacher, is important because it helps a child learn hand eye coordination. Make scribble drawings with the child. After allowing time for the child to make their own marks, then demonstrate making marks such as – | O and get them to copy.

It is important for children to be able to draw the 9 pre-writing shapes shown below before they
move onto more complex shapes like letters. If a child is unable to make the basic marks they are
not likely to be successful at writing letters. If you can’t draw a diagonal you are unlikely to be able
to draw a triangle or reliably form a ‘w’

Therefore, it is important to make mark making fun, providing the child with lots of different
experiences and encouraging them to experiment and improve. We describe this as a multi-sensory
approach to mark making.


These activities have been put together to practice and improve pre-writing skills. They can be
carried out in any order and should ideally be practised about three times a week for 15 minutes.