If you are in a self contained classroom chances are you have some pre writers on your caseload! I have tons of tips for tracing practice for prewriters that I would love to share with you!
Pre-writing skills are super important! The ability to trace straight and curved lines, zig zags, and shapes are all foundational for making letters! We have to trace lines of all types FIRST!
USE DRY ERASE MARKERS
If your students are making marks with writing utensils and you want to shape that into more meaningful writing skills, keep reading. I always start with a dry erase marker… why? It is much easier to write on a smooth, slippery surface than it is to write against coarse paper. With a dry erase marker and and a laminated surface the marker just glides across making marks more meaningful.
USE STOP SIGN VISUALS
Using the stop sign visuals in your tracing practice makes it easier for students to know where a line begins and ends. In writing we start our letters from the top down, and we practice this skill with tracing too.
DON’T HOLD BACK
Once your student is getting pretty good with lines, KEEP PRACTICING THEM, but move to shapes also. It’s important not to lose the skill of line tracing but also to challenge them to move forward and take their time. It’s okay to do both at once.
INCREASE DIFFICULTY… JUST A LITTLE AT A TIME
Once you move to shape tracing, only increase the difficulty a little bit at a time. First the dotted line is nice and dark, easy to see. In the next level the line is faded away but does offer a bit of a visual. In the final level the student traces FIRST then practices drawing the shape without a guide. A student that is mastering level 3 is ready for work on letters.
START WITH NAMES
I start with introducing the tracing letter books that incorporate the letters of a students name. Why? Because writing your name is important. Signing your name is an independence skill. So start there! work one letter at a time and add more. Keep practicing line and shape tracing at the same time.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT DAILY?
Luckily, these books are small enough to fit in a work bin and can easily be used for independent work. Put the books on the students schedule and have them practice each day! Learn more about independent work here.