Sunday, August 16, 2020


Children can have fun as they practice pre-writing strokes and train their eyes to go from the top to the bottom and left to right.

Top to Bottom Song (Dawna Hunter) 
(Tune: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”) 
Top to bottom, 
Left to right. 
Top to bottom, 
Left to right. 
My mind knows that writing always goes 
Top to bottom, 
Left to right. 

Pencil Stories
Pencil stories using story symbols can help children develop top to bottom and left-to-right orientation. They’re also an engaging way to develop small motor skills. These stories should be told multiple times so children can practice the pre-writing strokes and feel more competent. You might want to do the same story every day for a week as you invite the children to recall what will come next. 

Here's an easy version I would try with the little ones to encourage them to go from left to right and make a few strokes.

Let's go for a walk.  (horizontal)

The sun is shining down.  (vertical)

The wind is blowing.  (slant)

Here come some raindrops.  (circle)

I hear thunder. (X)

Time to run home!  (horizontal)

Hint! Put a green line down the left side to show them where to start and a red line down the right side to indicate where they should stop.

Write Round the Mulberry Bush
Here's another great pre-writing activity for the beginning of the school year called “Writing Round the Mulberry Bush.” I clearly remember where I got this idea. About 20 years ago I was doing a workshop in Huntsville, Texas. A young teacher said, “My mentor needs to tell you how she teaches handwriting. Her kids have the best handwriting in the school.” Well, she grabbed my attention and when I asked the older teacher her secret she smiled and said they practiced “Writing Round the Mulberry Bush” several weeks before introducing letters. 

Basically, you have children make the strokes as shown on a blank piece of paper as they sing the different verses to the song “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.” It makes sense because children need to go from top to bottom and left to right as they learn to master simple strokes.

Here's a link if you're interested.