Fans of my simple and fun pre-writing activity Preschool Handwriting Activity: The Tally Sheet, come on back into the pool for more! The tally sheet is a great way to keep score during a fast and fun game such as Pop-Up Pirate or Crocodile Dentist. As this year’s group or preschoolers are approaching the stage in which they are independently writing their names in uppercase letters, thoughts turn to more challenging visual-spatial skills and grading stroke control.
Enter the more advanced tally sheet! The original had just a baseline at the top. I kept the HWT smiley face as a cue for starting at the top left portion of the page. Many kids at this age will still start wherever their crayon lands, most likely directly in front of them.
Here is what your maturing preschooler will gain from moving up to this format:
- The additional line adds visual complexity on the page. A child will have to remember that her name goes on the top line, not in the large space in between the two black lines. It seems simple to figure out and remember, but not when you are 4. Some kindergartens use Handwriting Without Tears, but some use much more visually complicated handwriting programs such as Fundations. It’s time to build visual-spatial skills to navigate a slightly more complicated worksheet.
- Starting a tally line at the top and stopping on the bottom line demands more physical control of a crayon than just making a stroke down to the bottom of the page. Better control of the crayon is needed to “put on the brakes”. This prepares children for the stop-and-reverse formation of many lowercase letters such as “p” and “h”.
Good luck using the new tally sheet with kids who are preparing to graduate to kindergarten in the next month or two!