The way kids grasp their crayons in preschool will set the stage for later writing in school. So it’s important that they’re taught right from the beginning, before bad habits set in. Or they might end up like my daughter: straight A’s in every subject but handwriting! Here’s some tips to help your little learners as they begin their handwriting journey.
How to Teach Handwriting in Preschool
Teach Proper Pencil Grasp Early
Some teachers might debate me on this. But my personal opinion is that encouraging kids that have the ability (3 years old or so, depending on the child) to hold a crayon, marker, or pencil correctly will introduce a habit they’ll use for the rest of their life.
Teach Control Early
This is another area of debate. I know there is purpose in creative expression. But I also see the benefit in occasionally providing coloring pages and asking students to stay within the lines.
When students color in the lines they:
- Learn to be precise
- Strengthen fine motor skills
- Practice patience and perseverance
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter is an excellent student. She enjoys learning and has been reading for years. However, she’s having a hard time with her handwriting grade this year! First grade is so far perfectly challenging for her (her teacher is excellent about differentiating for her reading ability!). Her writing is legible, but not precise at all.
She is consistently missing points for incorrectly forming letters and missing the lines. I wish I had encouraged her to be more precise from the beginning and set that habit early. Instead, if she writes without concentrating on her handwriting, some letters are formed totally wrong (from habit) because I didn’t have her correct them early on.
Strengthen Those Fine Motor Skills
The same finger movements that hold a pencil are used to tie a shoe. I’ve noticed that my kids who do well with writing, have a much easier time learning to tie their sneakers! Which makes sense, since both tasks rely on fine motor skills.
So handwriting skills can actually be developed by playing! Which is so important in preschool! You can read more about playful learning in this post.
And for a ton of fine motor games, all you have to do is go to Pinterest! Pinterest is an excellent resource for teachers! Here’s my Fine Motor Skills Board you can follow or browse for ideas.
You can always make up your own activities, too. Anything that works those finger muscles are going to help strengthen pencil grip and give stronger control.
Like any muscle or skill, handwriting takes practice and consistent use. Practice frequently, even for short periods of time. My favorite way to incorporate a little handwriting into every day is with our Morning Work, which we use right after our Calendar Time Routine.
Get this FREE worksheet HERE.
For more handwriting practice, check out my Best-Selling Prewriting Worksheets Pack on TeachersPayTeachers.com!
For students preparing for kindergarten or who are ready for some actual handwriting practice, you might find these resources helpful.