Mark Making and Writing

Making Marks in Nursery

To develop good writing skills children need to be able to manipulate paper, pens and pencils.

Activities such as playing with dough, dressing and undressing dolls, completing jigsaws, building with small bricks and lego will help your child to develop control and co-ordination of their hands.



Mark making and writing develop at different ages.


· May hold the pencil/crayon with three fingers- tripod grip

· Makes a definite attempt to make individual marks

· Attempts to close shapes making an inside and an outside; these shapes are often circular

· Combines shapes and lines; these marks will often represent one word


30-50 months

May hold the pencil/crayon in a tripod hold between the thumb and two fingers

Copies adults and makes marks going across the page; these are often zigzags and wavy lines

· Has a clearer idea of the marks he/she wants to make

· May use either hand for writing




40-60 months

May hold the pencil/crayon in a pincer grip between the thumb and index finger

· Makes individual marks and uses some letters from own name to communicate a message

· Begins to understand that drawing and writing are different

· Is becoming aware that print carries a message

Forms symbols and some recognisable familiar letters that follow on next to each otherleft to right direction

· writing conveys meaning and may ‘read’ own writing

writes a message using familiar letters

·Writes some upper and lower case letters

· Writes his/her name reliably


Pencil Grip

The pencil rests between the thumb and first finger, the next finger prevents the pencil falling down and the last two fingers are tucked away. The hand rests on the table and the movement of the pencil is through the thumb and the first finger.  It is important that the knuckles point outwards.  Young children are amused if their fingers are likened to ‘froggy legs’. Encourage your child to ‘write’ and draw at every opportunity.

Showing them how to write their own name will help them to recognise their own books and coat peg.