What are pre-writing skills?

Learning to write can be very challenging. Ensuring a child has mastered pre-writing skills before introducing letter or number writing, can remove some of the stress and frustration. Pre-writing skills include the lines and strokes that make up letters and numbers. Each of these strokes are developed in a sequence, based on a child’s age.

Developmental Sequence of Pre-Writing Strokes:

  • Vertical Line- Age 2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters
  • Horizontal Line - Age 2 ½ imitates, age 3 copies/masters
  • Circle Shape - Age 2 ½ imitates, and 3 copies/masters
  • Cross Shape (+) - Age 3 ½ imitates, and 4 copies
  • Square Shape - Age 4
  • Right/Left Diagonal Line - Age 4 1/2
  • X Shape - Age 5
  • Triangle - Age 5

If a child is struggling to progress through the sequence of pre-writing strokes, it could indicate delays in fine motor skills, visual motor skills, or poor hand strength. For further information on helping your child master pre-writing skills, please call us in Sioux Falls at 605-444-9700; in Sioux City at 712-226-ABLE (2253) and in Rapid City at 605-791-7400.

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-Kristen Nelson, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, LifeScape