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Young children can sometimes recognise and read  letters but still find it difficult to write them. There are many ways you can help your child to develop the skills needed for writing.

Fine motor skills

At the ages of 3 and 4, children are starting to use their hands and fingers to draw in a more detailed way and may be starting to copy letter shapes. This needs coordination and control, which most young children are still developing. These skills are called fine motor skills.

Simple patterns

Depending what your first language is, letter shapes may be unfamiliar. The movement from left to right might be too. To help children develop their fine motor skills, you can work with them on simple patterns that go from left to right. These worksheets will give you some ideas of the sorts of repeated patterns that might help your child. Encourage your child to try to trace along the lines carefully.
Tracing patterns 1 – from First Friends 1 Activity Book page 9 (PDF, 33KB)
Tracing patterns 2 – from First Friends 1 Numbers Book page 6 (PDF, 35KB)

Practising letter shapes

Your child will probably start writing letters quite big. They will need practice in writing the letters at a smaller size. Try using these worksheets with your child. Each worksheet has two letters that have a similar shape or are sometimes confused. The child starts by tracing a large version of the letter to make the shape clear to them. The large dot shows the child where to start the letter. They then trace some smaller ones. The next stage is to copy the letter. Help your child to see the difference between the two letters on the page. See if your children know more words beginning with these letters, or any words that include these letters. You could also practise writing capital letters in a similar way.
- the following are all from the Family & Friends Alphabet book
Letter-writing a c (PDF, 48KB)
Letter-writing o e (PDF, 45KB)
Letter-writing i l (PDF, 45KB)
Letter-writing t f (PDF, 67KB)
Letter-writing r n (PDF, 47KB)
Letter-writing m h (PDF, 46KB)
Letter-writing b p (PDF, 34KB)
Letter-writing q g (PDF, 57KB)
Letter-writing y j (PDF, 45KB)
Letter-writing u d (PDF, 41KB)
Letter-writing v w (PDF, 36KB)
Letter-writing x k (PDF, 37KB)
Letter-writing s z (PDF, 51KB)

Making an alphabet poster

As your child works on their letters you can create a letter poster. Your child can write the letters (lower case and upper case) and also draw or stick a picture of a word that begins with this letter. There are ideas for words on the letter worksheets. Here are some more: apple, boy, cat, dog, egg, fish, girl, hat, ice cream, jeans, kite, lamb, mouse, nest, orange, plane, queen, rabbit, snake, train, umbrella, violin, wolf, fox, yo-yo, zebra.

Writing numbers

Your child is also learning to write numbers. Here are some simple practice worksheets to help them to form the number shapes. There are also some simple numeracy tasks.
Number-writing 1 & 2 (PDF, 36KB)
Number-writing 3 (PDF, 68KB)
Number-writing 4 (PDF, 55KB)
Number-writing 5 (PDF, 43KB)
Number-writing 6 (PDF, 46KB)
Number-writing 7 (PDF, 33KB)
Number-writing 8 (PDF, 71KB)
Number-writing 9 (PDF, 89KB)
Number-writing 10 (PDF, 71KB)

Here is a useful song to practise the numbers in English with your children.
Everybody Up numbers song