Parenta Magazine November 2019



Encouraging mark-making in

multisensory mark-making ways

in multisensory ways

As you will already know, mark-making is one of the earliest

stages of writing. If children are to become confident

writers, they need to partake in as many mark-making

activities as possible, at as early an age as possible.

When mark-making, you are looking for children to make marks on both a large

scale and a small scale – thus working both their gross motor skills and their fine

motor skills. If a child can’t make a huge ‘s’ shape in the air, they are going to

struggle to make their fingers draw a small one on paper.

Here are some multisensory ways of encouraging mark-making. For any of the

options below, a child could use their finger to make marks, or they could hold a

paintbrush, stick, pen, pencil or piece of chalk – whatever they like! As long as they

are using the muscles in their hand and arm to make different shapes, then they

are on their way to becoming a writer.

• Draw in different mediums: e.g. mud, sand, snow, paint, shaving foam or flour

• Draw with scarves and ribbons in the air

• Fill a plastic wallet with paint, sequins and glitter and get them to mark-make

over the pattern

• Put on gloves and use a block of ice to make marks on the ground

• Use coloured chalks on black paper – perhaps draw fireworks

• Paint water onto walls and fences using large paint brushes

• Use highlighters to draw over the lines of an existing drawing

• Draw on whiteboards and chalkboards

• Free drawing on an interactive whiteboard or iPad

• Trace pictures, letters and/or numbers

• Use stencils

• Run their finger over multisensory letters such as sandpaper or felt

• Write on a Perspex sheet

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is an

experienced teacher with

experience of teaching

in both mainstream and

special education. She

is the creator of ‘Create

Visual Aids’ - a business

that provides both homes

and education settings with

bespoke visual resources.

Gina recognises the fact

that no two children are

the same and therefore

individuals are likely to

need different resources.

Create Visual Aids is

dedicated to making visual

symbols exactly how the

individual needs them.



When encouraging mark-making, think about how you feel when you use a pen –

how does your favourite pen feel? If you use a pen that is drying out, it doesn’t feel

good against the paper. A new pen on a whiteboard, however, feels lovely and

flows easily. A child is far more likely to want to mark-make if it feels good. Have

sharp pencils and good quality pens for children to use.

If a child is struggling to hold a pencil properly, get them to hold a much shorter

pencil or a broken off bit of chalk – this naturally encourages a proper grip since

they physically can’t manage the palmar grasp.

As always with young children, making things multisensory is the key to

engagement. Offer fun and interesting ways to mark-make and your children will be

on their way to mastering the physical side of writing.

10 November 2019 11

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