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My DS is 4 and will be attending K in the fall. He is currently reading Magic Tree House books and working through Building Thinking Skills Grade 2/3. However, he can’t write legibly at all. He gets frustrated trying to write letters and numbers. He doesn’t like drawing, either. What should I do?

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keep doing the prewriting activities; do the screen for bilateral integration and crossing the midline if you haven't done that as part of the preschool screening

Edited by HeighHo

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I would work on fine motor skills. Lots of stuff available online to help with that have nothing to do with writing but will help with the underlying muscles that he needs for writing.

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FWIW, my DD audited her first college class at age 8, went to her first professional conference at age 9, and gave her first talk at age 10.  She also was still working on copywork and Handwriting until age 12-and honestly, could probably still use it at 14.  Her fine motor skills are age appropriate or even a bit behind, but somehow, it never really has mattered much-she has been able to keep up when she has needed to, and usually can type where needed (most of her college classes want things submitted online anyway, because they run them through TurnItIn).

Yes, work on fine motor. There are lots of great activities for this. I really love the Handwriting Without Tears preschool teacher’s guide/program because it’s a fine motor program that teaches letter formation, not a Handwriting program. But seriously, your DS is not behind. He is age appropriate in this area. 

Edited by dmmetler
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Might he like using a tablet pencil with a letter tracing or drawing app? The novelty was engaging for my oldest. Sidewalk chalk? Make your own sidewalk "paints" with mud, flour, etc. Tracing in a tray of kinetic sand? Find a bunch of small rocks and you each paint a letter on each for a garden alphabet. Use tracing paper to trace characters from favorite books.

If those kinds of things don't help him using a writing implement, you can search online for free printable large scale tracing numbers and letters with formation rhymes. Go through these with him using his finger to trace. There are also Montessori inspired finger tracing sandpaper books with letters and numbers that your library may have. 

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Totally age appropriate for a 4yo to not be able or terribly interested in writing, particularly boys who have a tendency to lag a little bit behind girls on fine motor skills. Legos are a great fine motor activity for little boys. Work on a good tripod grip on the pencil. Scribe for him if he wants to write something so he gets lots of time to observe how to form letters correctly. My 6.5yo youngest boy is just now getting pretty good at writing legibly and he does like to draw and write. None of my other boys liked to draw and write as much as my youngest even when they were 6.

I know the public schools around here at least really push for a child to be able to write their full name before entering kindergarten but this is not an age appropriate expectation for all children in my opinion. It has more to do with teacher convenience (if all children can write and recognize their name in print from the start of the year, they don't have to spend the first half of the year working on it) than any real benefit for the child. Sure some kids are perfectly capable of this by the start of K but there are just as many who aren't. It has nothing at all to do with intelligence.

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