Learning How To Write Letters – Children Need 3 Key Skills

 

The steps to learning how to write letters for children is actually quite complex.  The skill of handwriting requires many motor learning experiences prior to the actual act of writing letters.

The steps to learning how to write letters for children is actually quite complex.  The skill of handwriting requires many motor learning experiences prior to the actual act of writing letters. These experiences are not with a pencil either but with gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills and cognitive skills.

Learning How to Write Letters

The development of handwriting is a complex task that requires motor skills, cognitive skills and neuromotor skills.  It is not always easy to identify exactly what piece of the “puzzle” is missing if a child is having difficulties with handwriting.  The three skills needed to help children develop the skill of learning how to write letters are:

Complete visual representation of the letter

Can the child accurately identify the letters that you are practicing?  Provide children with letter cards or alphabet charts for proper letter formation.  An example of alphabet charts are Classroom Wall Cards and Alphabet Strips.

Another example for alphabet charts is Alphabet Wall Cards Handwriting Without Tears Style Font.

Read more about the four components of letter recognition.

Recognition of the line segments that form the letter

Can the child recognize horizontal, vertical and curved lines?  This skill requires cognitive skills, visual memory and visual spatial skills.  Many children today start writing letters at too early of an age resulting in poor habits.  When children practice pre-writing skills before learning how to write letters, they may develop better handwriting skills.

If you are working with very young children (early preschool age) there are other skills that can be practiced that do not require a pencil.  Read about 10 activities to get children ready for pre-writing skill here.

When children are learning how to write letters and ready to start practicing line segments, these resources may be helpful:


Prewriting Activity Pages includes 50 black and white pictures to trace and color. This is a “just right” activity for children who are learning to write, draw and color. Each picture has dotted lines for the child to trace to practice visual motor skills. Once completed, the child can paint or color the picture. Various prewriting practice strokes are included throughout the packet such as vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines, curves, circles, squares, loops, wavy lines and more!  FIND OUT MORE.


Fading Lines and Shapes includes worksheets that gradually increase in visual motor difficulty while decreasing visual input for line and shape formation.  There are 18 worksheets for line formations ie horizontal, vertical, curves, waves, diagonals, spikes and combinations.  There are 9 worksheets for shape formations ie circle, cross, square, rectangle, X, triangle, diamond, oval and heart.  This download is great for push in therapy, therapy homework or consultation services in the classroom.  FIND OUT MORE.

The Weekly and Daily Sign In Sheets for Early Writers solves these problems by having students sign in by completing developmentally appropriate pre-writing skills.

The Weekly and Daily Sign In Sheets for Early Writers provides a progression of pre-writing skills:

  • vertical lines (2 years old)
  • horizontal lines
  • horizontal curved lines
  • vertical curved lines
  • circles
  • plus sign
  • squares
  • diagonal lines
  • X shape
  • triangles (5 years+ years)
  • Full name

The goal of the Weekly and Daily Sign In Sheets is to:

  • infuse the day with pre-writing skills in the student’s natural environment
  • prevent bad habits from developing when writing letters
  • practice visual motor skills

Ability to reproduce the sequence and direction of the line segments to form the letters

When it comes to learning how to write letters, can the child coordinate all the cognitive and motor skills needed to form letters? They need to be able to write lines in different directions and patterns with fluency and speed. For children who struggle with coordination skills, this can be where the task of handwriting becomes very difficult.

Handwriting Stations from https://www.yourtherapysource.com/hwstation.html

Handwriting Stations include the materials to create a handwriting station on a tri-fold or in a folder. The station includes proper letter formation for capital and lower case letters, correct posture, pencil grip, warm up exercises, letter reversals tips and self check sheet. In addition, there are 27 worksheets for the alphabet and number practice (Handwriting without Tears® style and Zaner-Bloser® style). This download is great for classroom use, therapy sessions or to send home with a student. FIND OUT MORE

Reference:  Schickedanz JA (1999)Much More than the ABCs: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing.Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The steps to learning how to write letters for children is actually quite complex.  The skill of handwriting requires many motor learning experiences prior to the actual act of writing letters.