What are you adding to your preschool writing center this fall? Try these leaf themed prewriting worksheets. They are perfect for fall…but here’s the thing, they aren’t just for tracing, either!
Learn how to use these prewriting worksheets as fine motor tasks to help develop pencil grasp while learning the writing strokes that make up the alphabet.
Learning to write doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a child several years to master letter formation.
But learning to write doesn’t start with the ABCs, either. Before kids can form letters, they need to strengthen fine motor skills, practice using writing tools, and then learn how to make basic writing strokes. These free prewriting activity worksheets give kids practice with common strokes that are found in letters, and can be used in many different ways!
But before we dive into all the fun and creative ways to use tracing worksheets, let’s take a step back and learn about why developing prewriting skills is such an important step in learning to write.
What is Prewriting?
Simply put, prewriting skills are precursor skills children need before they are able to form letters. These skills are fundamental and integral to learning how to write. They contribute to a child’s ability to hold a pencil properly, the ability to draw, use scissors, trace, use freeform writing, and even brush their teeth.
What are the Major Prewriting Skills?
A major component of prewriting skills is prewriting shapes. During yearly checkups, pediatricians will often ask a child to write a series of shapes. These are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers, and early drawings are comprised of.
They include the following strokes: |, —, O, +, ▢, /, \, X, and Δ.
You might be interested in this source: Prewriting skills: Are They Important?
How do Prewriting Activities Support Learning to Write?
Like all other things children learn to do, learning to write is a process, and a fairly long one.
When children learn to write, they go through a set of sequential stages in writing. The stages are as follows:
- scribbling and drawing
- letter-like symbols
- letters and spaces
- conventional letter writing and spelling
While not every child spends the same amount of time in each stage or writing, most every child goes through the stages of writing in the same order. (Conditions like hypergraphia and hyperlexia are the outliers.)
Because of the process children go through in developing writing skills, prewriting skills are important because they support that natural process, thus making letter formation and learning to write easier.
Authentic prewriting worksheets and prewriting activities for preschoolers support pencil grasp development in the scribbling and drawing stage and help children learn how to draw letter-like symbols because the lines on prewriting worksheets mimic the lines made in letter formation.
Prewriting Worksheets for Fall
These prewriting worksheets are not just for tracing. They can also be used as fine motor activities to help develop pencil grasp while learning the writing strokes that make up the alphabet.
Don’t forget these tracing worksheets are free, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post.
Use a Dry Erase Marker
The first way to use these prewriting worksheets is to use them in a dry erase sleeve and have your preschoolers practice tracing the lines in dry erase marker.
The printable comes in both color and blackline versions, so you can print it off for one-time use or reuse the printable over and over again.
Then Erase the Dry Erase Marker
One of my favorite activities to support letter formation and prewriting lines is to have my preschoolers write first in the dry erase marker, and then have them use their finger to erase the marker. This way they get twice the practice!
But Even Before Those, You Can Try
If you really want to get the most “bang for your buck” with my free prewriting worksheets this fall, then before you even start tracing, have your preschooler use a button and push the button along the lines. This helps your preschooler develop a sense of feel for common line patterns that are found in writing letters.
If you use a pom pom, then they get even more fine motor practice because pinching the pom pom forces children to use their pincer grasp, which is fundamental to developing a mature pencil grasp.
Use These Fall Prewriting Cards with Stickers
Peeling stickers is a favorite of any child, but it’s also excellent fine motor work! Grab some small dot stickers and have your preschooler add the stickers to the lines. The fine motor work in this activity is different than the above, but still helpful to preschoolers.
In fact, peeling and placing stickers is one of the most popular fine motor activities I used in our fine motor journals.
Try Adding Buttons or Small Manipulatives
Anytime you ask a preschooler to line up small items or manipulatives, you are helping them develop their fine motor skills, which are a precursor to successful prewriting. Invite your preschooler to use small buttons to practice prewriting by lining them up along the lines.
My preschool son loved this activity because of the colorful buttons. It was a challenge to line up the buttons, but a good challenge. *NOTE: Do not use a laminated sheet or a dry erase sleeve. It makes the surface too slick and frustrates preschoolers because the buttons won’t stay put.
Don’t Forget Rainbow Writing
Rainbow writing is where children practice tracing the same line multiple times by tracing the line in several different colors before moving on. This is a classic prewriting activity for preschoolers and it naturally adds extra practice while using the same writing printable.
A Few Other Notes About These Prewriting Activities
I love using printables over and over again, and these prewriting activities are classic examples of how I can do that.
You may have noticed that this printable comes in both color and blackline versions, but it also featured two different kinds of writing lines.
The “white” lines featured in most of the pictures above are for preschoolers to trace inside of. Sometimes, young preschoolers or children new to this kind of line will try to color inside the lines. That makes sense, right? When this happens, I gently redirect them to just tracing inside the lines.
The dashed line version is more developmentally appropriate for older preschoolers. The line itself is thinner and much less forgiving to preschoolers who are learning to trace.
Both versions of this prewriting printable have merits in the classroom and at home, so consider your preschooler’s current writing skill level and select the version that will best suit him or her.
Get Your Free Prewriting Worksheets Here!
Think these prewriting worksheets will fit in with your fall writing center? You bet they do! Grab your free copy by clicking the image below. The PDF will be sent to your inbox.
More Free Prewriting Printables
You might also like these other free prewriting printables for preschoolers.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.