Pre-Writing and Chinese Writing

Writing is a complex task which requires different skills such as motor skills, perceptual skills and cognitive skills. These pre-writing skills develop at different ages and are essential for little ones to learn before they are ready to write.

For example, children ages 2 to 3 are ready to imitate simple horizontal, vertical and circular strokes. At the ages of 3 to 4, children are capable of copying basic horizontal, vertical lines and circle. They are also able to imitate a cross. The combination of the vertical and horizontal strokes is one of the basic components of many Chinese characters.

For example, these two strokes together can form the Chinese numeral ten 
; the character for work or labor 工, for earth or soil 土; and the ubiquitous Chinese surname 王, which also means king or monarch.

From the ages of 4 to 5, children are ready to copy a basic square shape I "the Chinese character for one 口. They are ready to copy oblique lines — like the three water drops in the 氵radical for water 水, or the four little rain drops in 雨.

The combination of the vertical and horizontal strokes is one of the basic components of many Chinese characters.

At the ages of 4 to 5, children are also ready to draw the oblique cross — similar to the character 火 for fire, in the shape of a burning flame. And from the age of 5 and above, children are capable of drawing the triangle, similar in shape to the 厶 radical character. Written with two strokes, 厶 is the original form of 私, which means private. It can also be found in characters such as 去 (to go), and 公 (an elderly man).

These basic geometric shapes form the basis of many Chinese characters. Practice tracing and drawing them will help little ones prepare for writing them one day.

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