Help me help DD who wants to learn how to write letters! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD will be 4 in March.  She has started to become interested in writing some letters.  She just recently learned to spell her name (fairly long name), and now would like to learn how to write it.  

 

I have noticed that she quite frequently switches hands when holding a writing utensil (not while she's writing, more like when she picks up the utensil at different times).  I have been trying to help her by showing her the proper grip, keep your elbow down on the table (she frequently keeps it up in the air and then gets tired), and have tried to help her by having my hand over hers to form the letters (then letting up on my grip).

 

 She seems to know the strokes, but it doesn't appear she is pushing down hard enough on the paper.  We do fine motor stuff all the time (some favorites include drawing on her easel, painting on her aquadoodle which we hung on the wall, playdough, beads, using tongs to transfer items, legos, coloring with small crayons, etc.).

 

 Does it sound like she just needs more time, or is there something more/different I should be doing?  She is the one asking me how to write the letters, so it is definitely not a case of me trying to "force" her to learn it.  We have the HWOT "Get Ready for School" book, but she has no interest.

 

I am kind of at a loss because DS (will be 5 in a month) taught himself how to write and is constantly writing on pictures to grandma, etc. and so is very good at it and has very legible and neat handwriting for his age, and was writing very well and reading by her current age.  I just feel bad because they always say the 2nd child gets the shaft with a lot of things, and I just feel like maybe I should've done more, but she is the type to dig her heels in really quickly if something is not her idea, you know?

 

Congratulations if you have made it this far...does anyone have any tips, advice, BTDT?

 

Thanks!


SAH, homeschooling mama to DS (1/06) and DD (3/07)
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#2 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 08:02 PM
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Since she is the one pushing it instead of you, how about letting her use markers.  She won't need nearly as much pressure, she can work on forming the letters, and as her grip improves (and fine motor muscles) she will start using a variety of tools.  I know that stubby crayons are supposed to be great for teaching grip.  You can melt several together to make a cool rainbow crayon.  She can use her 'special' crayon to practice.  I also think that a slight incline in the writing surface helps with muscle fatigue (might be wrong).  In the meantime, read the parts from HWT about grip, etc.  At four I wouldn't make a huge deal out of it, but would show her at the beginning of each lesson (or let her show me).  

 

We also used a small magnadoodle -- travel size.  Those stubby pens almost require a better grip, but doesn't require much pressure at all.  My kids would practice one or two letters at a time, erase and go again.  They loved to practice letters in the car.  My second child loves to use a tray of rice with her finger to practice spelling.  I am sure it would work for practicing letters too.  And, my kids came home with a baggie full of goo (you could use pudding).  The idea was to lay the baggie on the table and smooth it flat.  Then, practice letters with your fingers.  My oldest loved using other things to make letters -- this isn't writing but it did reinforce the shape of the letter.  She used craft sticks, bead, string, noodles, whatever she could find.  The sticks were challenging because she wanted to use them for the curved letters too.  She would make them bigger so that she could create a curve.  

 

Just have fun with it.  If you are worried about her fingers (muscle tone) you can hide objects in clay and have her look for them just by pinching with her thumb/fingers.  Clay can come from super soft to super hard. 

 

Amy


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#3 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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this is not the best time of year for this, but my DD learned to write most of her letters with side walk chalk .. grip and all that didn't matter much.. she was writing her name by copying by around 2 years old in sidewalk chalk, it took another year or so to do it on paper.  When we started working with letters on paper we used markers and i made 'dots' and she traced them.. she still occasionally asks for dots to trace to write a word..


- Staci, Mommy to Mollie (3/06), Jamie (5/08), Annie (9/10) and Bently (2/13) chicken3.gif
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#4 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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We use the Montessori Method, which you can easily do at home.  My dd will also be 4 in march, and has a 5 year old sibling who taught herself how to write.  What we did (and are doing) is using sandpaper letters/aka tactile letters and having her trace them with her fingers so she gets the motion down.  Once they've got the hang of that, you use a sand box.  We used a shallow tray with salt, you can also use tang, rice, or whatever else you have on hand) and they trace their hand first over the sandpaper letter and then write their own letter in the sand tray.  It's important that they trace the sandpaper letter first before they write the letter in the sand tray each time so they can build a "muscle memory".  If you've noticed when kids write, the first letter usually looks the best and each on after looks progressively worse.  Writing in the sand tray will give her some success and confidence to continue to write without having to worry about managing a pencil.

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#5 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 10:42 PM
 
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My DD looooooves letters and words.  She started requesting to learn her name about a year and a half ago, so we just sort of modeled each letter as she watched and then let her repeat them.

 

Then for her birthday(July), I got her some sets of Kumon Write & Wipe Cards.  They have Uppercase, Lowercase, Numbers & Vowels.

 

I was surprised when she knew all her letters without any prompting from me.  And now, after letting her play with them casually for the past six months, she can write all of her letters very well.  I like the cards because they have symbols for where to start writing and arrows to know which direction to make the letters in.  Plus, they're just cool!  :)

 

The other thing we did was make laminated cards with each capital letter of the alphabet on one side and it's lowercase counterpart in the back and she can trace them with her fingers, use chalk, or even roll playdough and shape it into the letter.  It just helps reinforce how the letters should go. 


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#6 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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Here is my experience with dc1 & 2.  Dd was like your daughter, and started writing letters around age 4.  We showed her how to write them, but didn't really give her any guidance as to the proper way to form the letters.  As a result, she developed some bad habits that were hard to break when the time came to shape up her handwriting. 

 

With ds1 I was wiser, and got him started on HWT right away.  Granted, he wasn't interested until 5.5, but he learned the "right" way (according to HWT) to form the letters and had no habits that needed to be changed.  He gets his 'b's and 'd' right, etc. 

 

Anyhow, if I had it to do over again I would've paid more attention to dd and her letter formation.  If your dd doesn't want to start the book right away no big deal, but I would make sure she learned the proper way to do it from the get go. 


~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#7 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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And for developing grip, pinching clothespins, puzzles with small knobs.

 

You can make a lot of games involving clothespins, just get one card with some images and glue matching images to clothes pins to pinch onto the first card.  (example format ) . A popular one is using paint sample cards to do color matching games.

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#8 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for such great replies!   My mind is more at ease after reading your tips and hearing your experiences!

 

Sapphire-love the clothespin matching game!!  She will love that!


SAH, homeschooling mama to DS (1/06) and DD (3/07)
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#9 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 10:18 AM
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Someone else's suggestion reminded me of one more.  We wrote dds name on cardstock and covered with contact paper.  We did this with large letters.  A dry erase marker works well on contact paper so dd was able to practice tracing her name as often as she wanted too.  When the contact paper got cloudy, we wiped it with an alcohol swab.

 

Amy


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#10 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

Someone else's suggestion reminded me of one more.  We wrote dds name on cardstock and covered with contact paper.  We did this with large letters.  A dry erase marker works well on contact paper so dd was able to practice tracing her name as often as she wanted too.  When the contact paper got cloudy, we wiped it with an alcohol swab.

 

Amy

 

 

Now THAT is a great idea, and I'm going to steal it!  Thanks!
 

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#11 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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After looking at many fonts, I decided I'd like my kids to learn the Getty Dubay italic font.

 

I purchased the software to make worksheets from www.startwrite.com. We can make letters in whatever size we want and add pictures. I put family photos and a caption on them. The program is a little inconvenient to use, but not horribly so. You can try a free download and see if you like it.

 

Originally I was going to use the software from www.educationalfontware.com. They have a lot more fonts and the genuine Getty Dubay. However, the GD prints up really bold in the larger sizes. They had great customer service and really tried to develop thinner print, but some of the features I liked about with the StartWrite software didn't work with educationalfontware so I ended up going with StartWrite.

 

I like the idea of contact paper over sheets.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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