Encouraging Handwriting in Preschool

Are you looking for ways to make writing fun and exciting for your children? Here are some great tips to get you started!

It goes without saying that handwriting an is an important part of our traditional thrust around readiness. While we know that is the case, the answer doesn’t exactly exist in putting kids in a position to sit down and write. Rather, it is the flip side – we need to create environments where kids want to write (in whatever shape or form that writing starts with). Only through experience and encouragement and meaningful, purposeful engagement can we move kids towards that golden ticket of handwriting. 

There are so many ways to promote writing in authentic, fun and engaging ways. Here are a some key considerations as you begin to introduce handwriting in your classroom:

1. Create a Literacy Rich Environment

Having a print rich environment and a variety of books available for children to freely explore creates an excitement for reading and writing. There are countless books that get kids excited about the alphabet. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

If Rocks Could Sing by Leslie McGunick

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s

2. Build the Foundational Skills Required to Write

Before children can hold a pencil to write, they need to build their dexterity and hand muscles. Pinching clay, exploring play doh, threading, spraying plants with a spray bottle, transferring objects with tongs, using pipettes, are just a few of the many ways to develop fine motor skills in children.

3. Embrace Handwriting as a Multi-sensory Experience

Children can explore building letters with playdoh, tracing letters in a salt tray, with shaving cream, or fingerpaint. You could add letters to the sensory bin filled with water, spaghetti, or rice. You can even take learning outdoors and encourage children to create letters using objects in nature or go on a hunt to find letters in their environment.

4.    Encourage Writing through Play

Play truly is the work of the child. Creating a space in your classroom that encourages handwriting through play is a great way to naturally encourage writing. By having an area readily available with envelopes, pencils, paper, card stock, clip boards, crayons, markers, alphabet stamps, and other open ended writing materials, children will be encouraged to explore handwriting when they are interested and ready.

5.    Promote Name Recognition/Name Writing

Each child’s name is significant and plays such an important part of their identity in the classroom. You can encourage name recognition by offering name stones during a gentle entry period where children can begin to recognize their name in print. A family identity wall with pictures and names of family members is another great way to build community in the classroom, letting each child know that they are valued. Children might also show an interest in putting their personal stamp on their artwork or adding print to their stories. By following their lead, an interest in writing will continue to flourish.

Most importantly, keep it fun and know that writing does not have to be in the form of a worksheet. Many worksheets are not developmentally appropriate or engaging for children. We would love to hear the ways that you are creating an excitement for writing in your classroom environment!

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