Is Your Child Ready to Write? Part 2

May 18, 2017

Last week, Part 1 of Is Your Child Ready to Write? provided a brief description of six essentials skills needed for this important childhood milestone. These included posture and balance, arm control, shoulder stability, bilateral coordination, pencil grasp, and visual motor coordination. This week, Part 2 provides a breakdown of the sequence of formations created using visual motor coordination skills and what to expect at different age levels.

Although some letters can be learned early due to their simple constructions like an O or an L, the vast majority are more complex and shouldn’t be introduced as a whole until more complex shapes are mastered including a triangle. You can learn more about the sequence of shapes and the action words used to form them by reading the post Are All Shapes Created Equal?

Below you will see the sequence of forming shapes in relation to age levels. This will give you a general idea of whether your child is ready to write. Children begin developing pre-printing skills in stages by forming strokes, distinguishes directions, and then combining strokes to form shapes.
1. Ages 0-1: Coordinate movement and develop the arches of hands when crawling and grasping objects.
2. Ages 1-2: Scribble randomly and then with direction by imitating strokes.
3. Ages 2-3: Copy vertical, horizontal, and circular strokes.
4. Ages 3-4: Form circular shapes and intersect lines.
5. Ages 4-5: Copy diagonal lines and form angled shapes.
6. Ages 5+: Copy a triangle, diamond, letters, numbers, and eventually words.

If you feel that your child is demonstrating difficulty developing these skills, you should consult or seek an evaluation with an occupational therapist. To watch a short video and hear more from me on whether your child is ready to write, click here. Have a playful day!

Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L
Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist and Founder of Playapy. She is the award-winning author of the PALS Handwriting Program: Treasure C.H.E.S.T. and Heads, Tummies, & Tails. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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