Preschool children are at the first stage of the development of their writing skills. It is an age that constitutes the foundation and first step in the development and acquirement of proper, organized and neat writing capabilities, which will be the basis of all of their future years of learning. These are also the years when children begin to prepare for first grade and learn how to shape letters, form words and write numbers.
In a study conducted in 2012 in the United States, managed by Dr. Karin James, a psychologist from Indiana University, researchers presented different shapes to children who had not yet learned to read or write and asked them to recreate them in one of three ways:
- To trace the shape on a piece of paper with a dotted outline.
- To draw it on a blank white piece of paper.
- To type it on the computer.
Afterward, the researchers scanned their brains and showed them the letter or shape again. The researchers found that among children who drew the letter freehand without lines, there was increased activity in three regions of their brains which are usually active in adults when they read and write. In contrast, children who typed the letter or copied it did not exhibit similar brain activity at all.