Preparing for School: Pre-Writing Printables

Children need lots and lots of pencil practice to develop the fluid fine motor control necessary for handwriting.  Tracing over various patterns is the starting point for this.

Tracing over these pre-writing patterns teaches your child:

  • to write from left to right ( the pencil icon on the sheet below indicates the directionality)
  • to develop wrist flexibility and strength ( You need to be able to rotate your wrist to form the following letters: c, a,d, g, o, q. They begin in a semi-circular manner)
  • to stay close to and follow a contoured line
  • the specific line and curves necessary for certain letters of the alphabet
  • hand-eye coordination

Let’s take a close look at this  pre-writing printable, for example.

The first two zig-zag lines are preparation for: “A”, “M”, “V”, “W”, “v”, “w”.

The curved line prepares the hand and eye for letters such as: “h”, “u”, “m”, “n”.


I have been teaching children to write for over 10 years now and this is my motto.

Do not expect or ask a child to sit at a table writing a letter or a shape over and over and over again. It will not improve handwriting one little bit. By the end of the sheet the writing will be just a scribble as he/she wants to be done with it. By contrast, the first few lines or letters are most often the best. Practice is not the answer if the quality of the work is poor.

I constantly remind my class that “perfect practice makes perfect”. This means that I ask them to complete only a line or two but  they must take their time and do it to the best of their ability.

I always ask my pupils to circle or highlight the one that they felt was their very best. This helps children to focus on the key characteristics of that letter and  the attributes of good handwriting, for example :

  • correct shape
  • correct size
  • sitting on the line
  • nice straight lines/curves
  • light pencil lines (not dark black and imprinted into the page!)

Click here for a link to some “Pre-writing practice sheets”.

Promise that you will only do a small amount each day 😉

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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