Pre-Writing Play for Preschoolers

The earlier your child begins writing, the earlier he or she will begin enjoying making their mark on the world. Hopefully, those marks are contained to paper, rather than spread over walls.

The doodling and drawing that toddlers and preschoolers do IS prewriting, and it does have its place in literacy learning. So, how can you graduate to “real” word writing?

First of all, I emphasize the importance of making writing a part of play time. Few children will be eager to write if  it is forced.  So, try to be flexible and willing to try again tomorrow if today’s writing game doesn’t leave everyone smiling.

Try these approaches:

  • Start with their name: Most of us naturally teach our child to spell at least their first name as a part of routine writing play.
  • Play Copy Cat: Have your child copy words from First Words  primers and picture books. This helps them connect the word with the object.  You can also copy from cerealboxes…whereever words are found. My son carried a writing notebook with him on our errands and he enjoyed copying words from street signs, advertisements, etc…
  • Play School: This works especially well if you have school age children. your preschooler will gladly join in homework time if he or she has a worksheet to complete. You can find a large number of free writing practice printables  ABCTEACH Writing Page. recommends that four- and five-year-olds use large crayons and markers and plain, unlined paper. The “big” writing instruments are much easier for them to hold and manipulate, and writing in the lines isn’t necessary until kindergarten.

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