Last Sunday, we picked our daughter up from class at church and before we left, we checked the table to get her artwork for the day. Almost none of them had their names on them, but one or two did and then there was one with somewhat recognizable letters.
I immediately knew it was hers.
While it was not in a perfect line or legible to anyone but my husband or I, we could see her name in the chaotic strokes and lines.
This moment, I realized that while we were working so hard on being able to write her name, recognize each letter of the alphabet, and write both capital and lower case letters, we weren’t focusing enough on proper letter formation.
And that… well that can be a tricky skill to teach young learners. Of course it improves with fine motor skills, hand strength, and practice, but making it fun can also be a challenge! So to make it a game, we made an easy reusable activity sheet that encourages letter formation by utilizing pre-written letters.
What you need to work on letter formation with young kids
Why practice writing vowels to improve penmanship?
Especially for those who observe the “a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y” rule, using both upper and lower case vowels go through every type of stroke that a child might encounter when writing out the rest of the alphabet.
In fact, it gets the cross stroke, dotting the i, curves, etc. which makes it the perfect practice in writing the alphabet.
How to set up and expand on learning how to write letters
First, you will write out the letters yourself. Choose just one concept (upper or lower case).
Then give your child a marker with the lid replaced that has an eraser on top. If needed, you might have a cup of water depending on how difficult it is to erase. This makes those old markers and ones that are dried out perfect to use!
Then have your child write out the same letters. Ask them how it felt.
Did it feel different erasing letters compared to writing them?
Was it helpful to erase the letters to understand how to also write them?
Even in just a week I saw improvement. And over time, I am going to keep handwriting samples to see how she improves.
And of course, maybe in coming weeks her name will be legible even to non family members!
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!