Fine motor activities are essential for improving fine motor development. Students need those foundational skills for cutting a piece of paper, learning how to tie their shoes, picking up smaller objects, and more! In addition, fine motor control is essential for emergent writing experiences. For example, young learners can start learning name writing and literacy skills by developing fine motor skills! So, keep reading to discover three reasons why developing fine motor strength in young children is vital for the writing process!
#1: Fine Motor Muscles
Have you ever tried completing an exercise that your body was just NOT ready for? For example, maybe an exercise program called for you to do 20 standard push-ups, but you haven’t done any upper body exercises in a while! It would feel too difficult, you would get frustrated, and you may even give up on the workout altogether. However, if you choose to use a modifier (like push-ups on your knees), you can work those same muscles in a less intimidating way.
Now consider emergent writers who do not have a solid foundation for using a pencil. They probably feel that same frustration because they lack the hand strength for holding a pencil with the proper grip for extended periods of time. This is where fine motor writing activities for emergent writers come into play! Similar to modifying an exercise, we can use modified pre-writing skills to strengthen those small hand muscles! By strengthening your students’ hand muscles, they can develop pincer grip, draw pictures, strengthen pencil grasp, and improve overall hand-eye coordination!
In addition, students can use small tongs to move small objects like pom poms. The grip they use with the tongs is very similar to the grip they use with a pencil. However, it is a little less complicated because they open and close the tongs rather than using a continuous grip like a pencil. As a result, they are building their fine motor muscles and getting those muscles ready for writing! I love doing activities like these because it’s a great way to strengthen visual-motor skills!
#2: Letter Recognition/Formation
Letters and letter formation are more writing tools that aid the development of emergent writing. For example, there are so many different fine motor activities that you can assign when focusing on letters. Students can form letters with playdough, dot the letter formations with Q-Tips and paint, and even use pom poms (as mentioned earlier) to make the shapes of different letters. As your students learn the different letters and form them, they can more easily string them together to form words. Understanding this important skill comes in handy when teaching your students how to read and write! In addition, using a variety of materials helps students’ improve their fine motor skills and have fun while doing it!
#3: Letter/Sound Correspondence
Another massive benefit of using fine motor activities for emergent writers is that it can be a fun way to build a foundation of letter/sound correspondence. For example, after students use a Q-Tip to paint the shape of letters, you can continue the activity by having students paint a picture that starts with the sound that the letter makes. For example, if you have had students dot the letter “Bb,” you could also have them use a Q-Tip to dot paint the shape of a banana.
Through this activity, students begin connecting the letter “B” and the sound heard at the beginning of the word banana. It builds those fundamental skills for using letters to represent beginning sounds from emergent writing to the transitional stage.
Final Thoughts on Fine Motor Activities for Emergent Writing Skills
Emergent writers need a strong foundation to go from using drawings and letter-like forms to using letters with purpose. However, they also need to fine-tune those small muscles to improve writing letters. Giving them plenty of opportunities can provide a solution for both! With simple activities like the ones listed above, students gain exposure to letter formation, letter/sound correspondence, and fine motor skills!
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