Handwriting grows in observable phases. It goes a little something like THIS. By observing your student's current drawing and writing endeavors, you can best assess when you can offer activities that will support them in their next level of literacy development.
For example, this child knows all of the letters in the alphabet and is beginning to group sets of letters together on his pages. This tells me he is understanding the purpose of writing and that words are made up of groups of letters. "What does this say?" He asks and points to one of the groups which reads VIOLEE. I read back, "You wrote, VIOLEE." "WOW, I almost wrote violin" he connects.
This student is showing phonemic awareness (knows that there are individual sounds in spoken language), and is beginning to connect these sounds to the letters that represent them.
What you can do:
-Enrich your environment with print; ex; make signs for spaces
-Put labels around the house; ex: on the table that says "table", on your "plants"
-Make a grocery list together and encourage your child to find items; ex: find the Apple Juice by looking for the first letters in the word on the shelf
-Encourage him to label his work with the first sound of the item he drew; ex: draws a sun, say the sound 'sss' and help him label his sun with an 'S'
-Hide lots of letter 'G's in green play dough
-Play games, read books together and MAINLY have fun with this. Learning to read is such a fun and rewarding journey that should not be a punishment (no flashcards needed)
Check out this list of other pre-reading skills to help support your emerging reader.