Beginning Writing Skills in Preschoolers

It’s easy to keep track of your preschooler’s growth in height and weight. But how can you measure your child’s development in other areas? For instance, can you tell if there is learning and mastering age-appropriate writing skills? The questions and tips that follow will help you understand what type of early writing skills your 3- and 4-year-old child should be developing and how you can support her budding writing skills.

What are age-appropriate writing skills for Preschool?

The most important thing for parents to remember is that writing during the preschool years is, well, messy! The goal is to help children understand how writing works, that it connects in meaningful ways to reading, and that it communicates information, through words and symbols. Do they:

  • Express ideas and stories through pictures she draws?
  • Use pencils, crayons, and markers for drawing and writing?
  • Copy and draw lines and circles, and symbols like “X” and “+”?
  • Attempt (with some success) to write some of the letters in her first name?
  • Show an understanding of how writing and drawing help us communicate and function in everyday life?

What to do at home?

Now that you understand some of the beginning writing skills your child should have, you can reinforce those skills and help her make further progress. It’s easy to practice writing with your child throughout the day. Here are some activities to try:

  • Let your child use writing tools such as pencils, washable markers, chalk, and crayons. Gather and organize these materials, along with some paper, in a box that your child can decorate and have access to.
  • Encourage your child to use drawing to express ideas and tell stories.
  • Show your child that written words are a part of daily life. From grocery lists and email messages to billboards and signs in stores, writing is everywhere!
  • Teach your child to print her first name. (Be patient, as this will take practice.) This is very empowering for a preschooler!
  • Label your child’s belongings with her name. And, let your child label some of her own things (such as a notebook or crayon box).
  • Let your child mold clay letters for hands-on practice shaping letters of the alphabet.
  • Help your child create a pretend menu using pictures of food from newspapers and magazines


Promoting early writing skills at preschool

There is a growing emphasis on structured learning in today’s preschools and while there is still plenty of play time, time in school tends to follow a more rigorous curriculum than in the past. To keep track of how well your young child is learning to write, you’ll want to:

  • Ask your child’s teacher how writing is being taught and practiced – and whether your child is doing well or struggling.
  • Find out what specific early writing skills your child will need to master in order to have a successful start in kindergarten.
  • Collect samples of your child’s writing in the work and projects she brings home, display them at home, and discuss them together.
  • Encourage your child to talk about school and learning, and try to gauge how she feels about writing.

Cause for concern? 

If you’re worried that your child’s writing skills are below-average for her age group, rest assured that not all preschoolers learn to write at the same pace. However, you may want to seek help if your child:

  • Dislikes and avoids writing and copying.
  • Is late in learning to copy and write.
  • Has trouble remembering the shapes of letters and numbers.
  • Frequently reverses or otherwise incorrectly draws letters, numbers, and symbols.

December Pinterest Pick 3

One of the corner stones for learning to read is mastering Phonemic Awareness. It's a skill that can impede readers from keeping up with peers. I spend time reteaching this skill to many of my students through the year. In some cases more than the students I teach phonics to.












I love anything that uses manipulatives. In this case legos-they are the best thing ever. But moving tokens, blocks, or legos gets students involved, wanting to the activity. These free cards are a great way to get "play" there way to mastering phonemic awareness.















 I'm always looking for Phonemic Awareness activities. Things that take only a couple of minutes to do and something that I can see ten minutes later when they are reading a text. This list has that--ideas and suggestions that take only a couple minutes and easy to pass on to classroom teachers to do as well. This list has broken down phonemic awareness into other skill sub-skills which is even better.










I have never thought to use legos as a way to help students see sounds. I should have since I use them for math. This idea can be done with either large or small legos represented a sound within a word. I need to try this since my students love jumping each sound. I can see this being a big hit with them.

Have a great week.







About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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