Tools for Developing Graphic Skills

Drawing, printing letters and writing words and letters all require a basic ability to create straight and curved lines in the correct sequence and in the right place.

These basic abilities are acquired through many hours of drawing practice in the child's pre- early school years.  

Many children with drawing and handwriting difficulties have not mastered the basic graphic skills that are needed for handwriting, including 

  • the ability to draw long and short straight and curved lines using a single smooth movement that is pre-planned.and do not rely on visual monitoring. 
  • the ability to draw short lines and small shapes using preplanned movements without the need to visually monitor the movement of the pencil on the paper 
  • the ability to pre-plan and execute a movement of the pencil tip in the air from the end of one line to the start of the next. 

Young children from the age of 5 years enjoys these tasks and it is surprising how just a 10-15 minutes a day of drawing practice over several weeks will ensure that your child is ready for the demands of learning to print letters with greater ease and efficiency. 

If your child is older and having difficulties with handwriting fluency, speed and neatness these activities are a useful way of identifying and taking remedial action to improve motor control for handwriting.

Activities for training graphic skills 

The HWG Developing Graphic Skills: Assessment Handbook is a 45 page PDF download which provides a structured approach to assessment of the different aspects of completing selected graphic tasks: attention, following instructions, evaluating own work, motor control and motor planning. 

The term basic graphic skills refers to the child's ability to draw straight and curved lines of different lengths and curvatures,  in different directions and in different positions on the page to produce a desired outcome. This involves having an idea of the desired outcome (a goal), translation of the idea into a motor plan, translating the motor plan into patterns of muscle activation to enact the movements required to achieve the goal. 

Young children who draw a lot and with confidence create imaginative pictures with lots of variety, detail and interesting features.

This engagement with drawing allows the child to acquire all the basic graphic skills needed for learning to print letters and acquire good handwriting skills.

Wobbly monsters are strange and wonderful creatures. There is no one right way to draw a wobbly monster and this freedom allows the child to explore ways of combining lines and shapes to draw interesting creatures.

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Drawing with prompts is a good way to encourage children who are reluctant to draw to start experimenting with different lines to create interesting pictures.