BigBrother has known his letters for quite some time. In typical oldest child fashion, he’s been somewhat of an over-achiever when it comes to things like letter, number, shape and color recognition. In preschool, they worked on name recognition (both first and last) for awhile (after learning letters together) and now they’re working on writing their names. Our last newsletter encouraged us to help them do so at home by teaching them to write the first letter of their name capitalized and the following letters in lowercase (title case). You know, like you’re supposed to write your name!
The last time I tried to help BigBrother free-write his name, it looked nothing like his name. He was still proud, of course, and I gave him a high five. I was just happy that he was interested in holding a pen. (Remember? He’s not crafty.) As such, I decided to investigate some ways to help him get the tricky first letter of his name… N.
First and foremost, I can’t suggest DLTK enough. Not only is it full of amazing resources for teaching at home, they’ve got something super awesome. You can customize a traceable letter page. You can choose your letters, up to six, making them all the same or different letters. It then prints four rows of your chosen letters. They can be all uppercase, all lowercase, or in title case (uppercase first letter followed by lowercase letters). Unfortunately, BigBrother’s N-name is more than six letters so it doesn’t work to fit his name on one line. However, I did print out a page full of uppercase N’s. Then I sat down with him, handed him the page, a pen and told him how to do the first one. And then he filled the page. And wrote two of his own N’s at the bottom of the page.
And he was very proud.
We had to leave it on the table for FireDad to see as soon as he got home. It was really quite adorable.
To keep things from getting boring (doing the same thing everyday can be very boring if you are three… especially if you have the energy of BigBrother), I also grabbed some workbooks at our local teacher store (slash toy store!). One is from Teacher Created Resources, entitled Traditional Printing ($4.99). It is a very simple workbook with black, white and gray pages. Each letter has its own letter along with the picture of an accompanying letter picture (q = queen). Letters are shown in uppercase and lowercase on halves of the page. The second half of the book has easy words. I like it because of the simplicity and the space in which to continue writing the letters. The second book is from Trend Enterprises, entitled Alphabet Adventures for PreK ($4.99). This book is set up similarly except that there is less room for writing letters due to the colorful drawings that go along with each letter and word. Colors and illustrations have their place, of course, and this will help keep our lessons fresh! This particular book also has different activities at the end. I really like this book for some of those activities (circle the pictures that start with the letter K, as an example). With each book, I see myself making copies of the pages as opposed to writing in the workbooks so I can be a penny-pincher and save them for when LittleBrother comes around to this learning stage.
I also found one last thing while I was researching for this post. Donna Young wrote about some great handwriting fonts that are in existence. I chose the Print Clearly dashed font from Blue Vinyl, downloaded it and installed it. And now? I can print out BigBrother’s lengthy first name in a traceable letter font with enough space between each letter as many times on a page as I choose. Color me excited! After we finish working on some other letters in his name, I will be printing out many copies of his name for practice! And then we’ll work on our last name which is, thankfully, shorter and easier than my maiden name. The simple things in life make me happy!
Right now, BigBrother is enjoying the worksheets that I’m making for him. He’s enjoying the special time we spend together at the table. He loves showing off his new found ability. I’m hoping to keep this light-hearted and fun. I don’t want to scare him away from letters or reading or anything of that nature. But he keeps pushing me to know “what that word says” and what “this word says” and as such we’ve been doing some work with JumpStart both online and via CD video games. If you’d like to know how his reading is progressing thanks to these tools, please read this review, just posted today. (Giveaway in the future!)
If you have any other ideas for keeping the process of learning to write letters fresh and fun, I’m all ears. Remember: I’m flying by the seat of my pants. So far, these things are working and keeping him happy. I know, all too well, that could change and he could want or require something else. Furthermore, LittleBrother could very well be an entirely different learner. So, hit me with your best learning to write tips! I’d be happy to put them into practice and share them with my readers.