Helpful Tips

Unlocking Prewriting Skills: Recognising Challenges and Effective Strategies

Close-up shot of a child writing on a notebook using a pencil.

Implementing targeted strategies can create a supportive environment that nurtures your child’s prewriting skills.

Developing strong prewriting skills is a crucial milestone in a child’s writing journey. However, children facing developmental challenges may encounter unique obstacles during this phase.

With their unique abilities and potential hurdles, your child may find the acquisition of prewriting skills to be a diverse and sometimes challenging landscape.

These challenges can stem from a variety of developmental factors, including but not limited to fine motor skills, visual discrimination, attention spans, and sensory difficulties.

This article explores these common indicators and highlights tailored strategies to empower children with specific impairments.

1. Fine Motor Skills Difficulties

If your child experiences challenges gripping small objects, struggles with using scissors, or finds buttoning clothes challenging, they may be grappling with fine motor skills difficulties.


  • Threading: Foster fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through hands-on threading activities. This approach actively promotes the development of the pincer grip, a crucial skill for later use of writing tools.
  • Plasticine play: Engage in dynamic playdough creations to enhance prewriting skills. As your child manipulates plasticine, they actively refine fine motor skills, specifically hand strength and agility.

2. Visual Discrimination Issues

Difficulty distinguishing between similar letters or shapes, such as ‘m’ and ‘n’ or ‘circle’ and ‘oval,’ indicates visual discrimination challenges.


  • Pairing patterns: Strategically use cards with similar shapes or patterns to enhance prewriting skills. This cognitive exercise focuses on visual discrimination and attention to detail.
  • Identifying differences: Engage your child in an activity where they identify variances in pictures or cards with subtle differences. This exercise sharpens their visual distinction skills.
  • Shape sorting: Lay the groundwork for practical prewriting skills through delightful activities that require precision and coordination in handling and organising cards.

3. Short Attention Spans

Children facing prewriting challenges may struggle with short attention spans, resulting in distractions and incomplete work.


  • Gradual time extensions: Start with brief drawing or writing tasks, gradually extending the duration as your child develops increased focus and concentration.
  • Storytelling undertakings: Invite your child to create and narrate short stories, integrating drawings to capture their interest and sustain attention during prewriting activities.

4. Sensory Sensitivities

Some children may avoid prewriting activities due to sensory sensitivities related to paper texture, writing tool feel, or the writing environment.


  • Texture exploration: Allow your child to touch, feel, and draw on various surfaces to discover what feels most comfortable for prewriting.
  • Alternative writing tools: Encourage experimentation with different tools to help your child identify preferences for prewriting.

Recognising these challenges and implementing targeted strategies can create a supportive environment that nurtures your child’s prewriting skills, ensuring a positive and enriching writing journey.

By Mak Jia Wei

Special Needs Teacher’s Assistant

In acknowledging the diverse challenges that children with developmental hurdles may face in pursuing prewriting skills, Taarana School paves the way for implementing targeted strategies designed to foster a supportive and inclusive learning environment. This proactive approach aligns with the philosophy that every child’s unique journey deserves tailored attention and specialised interventions.