This exploratory work studies stroke programming carried out by children in the course of learning to write in Catalan. Twenty-one children in their first year of primary education at a school in Cornellá (Barcelona), copied two- and three-syllable seven-letter words onto a digitalising tablet that registers information about movement and pressure applied during writing. By analysing the duration of children's strokes it is possible to study how the movement is programmed. The results show significant differences in the strokes of both types of words, indicating that the participants programme their handwriting according to the syllabic structure of the words they are writing. These results are compared with those obtained for other languages in previous studies. © 2009 Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje.