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Teaching Letter Formation

As you know, readers, I am working with a kindergartener. One of the important things I am learning from her is how to gauge the timing of activities and the variety of activities to keep her engaged and enthusiastic about learning.

In our lessons, we are working on the names and shapes of the letters of the alphabet, introducing two new letters every week or ten days. She is learning the names of the letters, their articulatory features using pictures of the mouth and a mirror, the sounds of each letter and how to write them. I found a set of Wooden Alphabet Tracing Blocks for our lessons. Each block has the upper case letter on one side of the block and the lower case letter on the flip side. Annie can trace the letters with a stylus or her finger and she also likes to have the blocks out when she is writing the letters on lined paper so she can keep the shape of the letters in her working memory as she writes it.


She is still learning to control the steadiness of her pencil grip so we use an ergonomically correct pencil grip as an aid. She loves using it.



Yesterday when she was writing the letter “a”, her vertical line went above the middle line and below the lower line on her paper, so I put one finger on my left hand above the middle line and one finger from my right hand below the lower line to give her a point of reference. With this physical “frame”, Annie was able to accurately portray the size of the lower case “a”.



Finally, I asked her to judge which letter “a” that she had written was the most accurate one and what helped her make that decision, instead of saying, “Good job, Annie” which would not have given her usable feedback. Having her analyze and reflect on her own work leads to greater accuracy and ability to self correct.

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