Learning to write is such a fascinating (and occasionally frustrating) process. Children begin by scribbling, and then start to make letter-like symbols such as circles and lines. Often they will pretend to write words just like they see adults doing. As they enter Pre-K (the year before kindergarten), their letters begin to take a more conventional form. By the end of Pre-K, most students can, to some degree, write their names. It takes lots and lots of practice, however, to get them to that goal. Here are a couple of ways to work on letter writing in the preschool classroom.
Learning to Write with Flour Trays
- Plastic Trays
- Laminated Letter or Name Cards
These are simply trays of flour. These flour trays are fantastic for a couple of reasons: they satisfy the student’s need for a sensory experience, and the flour is inexpensive and relatively easy to clean up. One can always pick out the students who have been working at this center because they look like that mom in the old Rice Crispies treat commercial! (Does anyone else remember that?)
These are simply trays of flour. Have the students’ names written out as a model. During centers, they can choose their name card and then practice making the letters in the flour. Begin with younger students by working on the upper case letters of their first names, and build from there.
For older students that have mastered their first initial, they are then ready to move to first names in upper case. Soon they move on to last names and lower case letters. Remember, every student learns at their own pace, and some students have really long names, so be prepared for multiple levels of learning!
Pincer Grasp Practice
After students develop an understanding of the shape of the letter, they need to work on their pincer grasp. This fine motor skill begins in infancy when babies learn to pick up Cheerios and other small foods using just their thumb and index finger. Children must improve their hand strength, dexterity and hand-eye coordination before they are ready for more formal writing tasks. One of the ways to practice this skill in preschool is through the use of giant thumb tacks. Put out index cards with shapes or letters written on them. The students place their card on a carpet square (easily obtained for free from the local carpet store!) and use their giant thumb tack to poke holes along the lines.
Look at all this pincer grasp practice!
Pre-Printing Practice Cards
When they are ready, why not add these terrific Pre-Printing practice cards to the writing center? This set of cards breaks down writing into simple steps– long horizontal lines, short horizontal lines, long vertical lines, slanted lines, curves, circles, etc.
Students love this center because they get to use dry erase markers. It’s the little things, right? These pictures are actually from a younger class. They did so well on them!
Looking for more name and writing activities? Why not try some of these easy DIY name activities? And don’t forget to check out these customizable name practice sheets!
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