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Handwriting Readiness and Literacy Skills

December 9, 2020 | Sossi Essajanian

Although the children have been drawing, writing, reading pictures, and hearing stories at school, this week the Sky Class did explicit practice with some building blocks of handwriting and literacy.

This work includes:

  • Learning right from left
  • Identifying all the lines and curves to build letters
  • Building Mat Man to support drawing skills

Left and Right

Learning right from left is a skill that supports early literacy.

Through experiences, children learn “sidedness” of their body and these become the building blocks of spatial awareness and orientation (where things are in the space around us) that lead to seeing differences in numbers, letters, and words. Distinguishing left and right also supports children’s understanding of how two objects may relate to each other.

(Check out this site for more details about handedness.)

Lines and Curves to Build Letters

English letters and number can be formed using four types of lines:

  • Big Line
  • Little Line
  • Big Curve
  • Little Curve

Children explored these as wooden shapes through different activities and tactile experiences. Working with these will help children develop handwriting skills like letter formation.

After they learned the names for the lines and curves, the children played a mystery bag game. They pulled out a line or curve, identified it then sorted it.

Finally, they counted to see how many were in each group and labeled the total with the corresponding numeral. Some even put them in size order.

Literacy and numeracy go hand in hand!

Children also used cloths to polishing the lines and curves, offering another sensory experience to learn more about these letter building blocks.

Mat Man for Drawing

Children then took their knowledge of lines and curves to build Mat Man. It supports readiness skills like body awareness, sequencing, placement, and spacial reasoning. Mat Man also provides a structure for drawing a person.


Where do your arms connect to your body?

From your shoulders.

Where do your legs connect to your body?

From your hips.

Sossi Essajanian

Teacher, Sky Class

Sossi Essajanian is excited to continue her teaching and learning journey at the Mustard Seed School. She began teaching at the United Nations International School where she worked with children and colleagues from around the world. This inspired her to take a primary teaching position abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she lived and worked for two years.

Ms. Essajanian has a passion for supporting children’s social/emotional skills and learning through a loving and caring classroom community. These are built on creating shared understandings and opportunities for children to identify and express their feelings and of those around them. She believes in creating experiences through pair and group work where learning blossoms through social experiences.

Ms. Essajanian also enjoys reading and talking about books and continues to pursue her second passion: editing. She’s worked in various editorial capacities in newspapers, magazines, and books. She was recently excited to serve as the development editor of a children’s book about engineering and is looking forward to leading some tinkering investigations of her own with her students!

In her free time Ms. Essajanian runs, swims laps, and likes to take long walks to explore the world around her.

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