Pre-Writing Skills Checklist for Kids

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If you've been around early education then you have probably heard of pre-writing lines. How do you know which pre-writing lines your child should know? And what ages should these pre-writing lines be mastered and turn into letters? Today I am sharing a pre-writing skills checklist that will help you out.

Pre-writing skills checklist for teachers, parents, and therapists. Free digital download to use at home, in the classroom or therapy sessions.

What is pre-writing line development?

Before we talk about the checklist, I wanted to give a brief overview of what pre-writing lines are and what their typical development looks like.

Pre-writing lines are strokes and shapes that a child learns in a developmental sequence. It begins with scribbling as a baby and turns into lines, circles, and other shapes. These scribbles, lines, and shapes are the beginning of letter formations and are so important in handwriting development.

This developmental sequence is:

  • Vertical Line – (Age 2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
  • Horizontal Line – (Age 2 1/2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
  • Circle Shape – (Age 2 1/2 imitates, 3 copies/masters)
  • Cross Shape (+) – (Age 3 1/2 imitates, age 4 copies)
  • Square Shape – (Age 4)
  • Right/Left Diagonal Line – (Age 4 1/2)
  • X Shape – (Age 5)
  • Triangle (Age 5)

On the checklist, I made this a little more detailed for you so you can follow along with normal development and see when a child imitates and then copies and masters the lines or shapes.

pre-writing skills checklist for parents, teachers, and therapists.

Get Your Free Pre-Writing Skills Checklist Download

To get your free pre-writing skills checklist, enter your e-mail address below in the form. Then click the blue “CLICK HERE” button and you'll be redirected to a success page.

Head to your email inbox to get the free download in a special e-mail from me. I'll also be following up with more pre-writing skill tips and resources so you get the most out of downloading and using these pre-writing skills checklists.

References for this checklist:

Beery, K.E., Beery, N.A. The Beery-Buktencia Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration. Minneapolis: NSC Pearson, 2006.

Folio, R.M., Fewell, R.R., Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, 2nd Edition. Austin: Pro-Ed, 2000.

Stensaas, A. M.S., OTR/L. The Developmental Sequence of Visual Motor Skills. Super Duper Publications. 2007.


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Basics of pre-writing activities for kids ages 2-6 and preschoolers.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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  1. Leah Borja says:

    Thank you for sharing ideas. God bless!

  2. Melanie Findley says:

    What is the difference between “Imitate a vertical line” vs “Copy a vertical line” ?

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
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