Learning to Write Letters

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.


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13 Replies to “Learning to Write Letters”

  1. It sounds like you found some great resources. That photo is adorable – he looks so proud! We had the opposite situation in our house – my brother (the oldest) didn’t care about learning things, whereas I would watch my mom trying to work with him on reading, writing, etc. and NEED TO DO IT TOO. (The youngest never wants to be left out, right?) So I had many similar workbooks and activities growing up.

  2. My oldest loved the wooden pieces in the Handwriting without tears set. What helped also was just spending a lot of time doing hand strengthening/dexterity things like play doh, cutting with scissors and picking up beads with tongs, etc. Drawing letters in sand was also fun.

    Heathers last blog post..Mondays

  3. Another tip for helping them learn to trace letters is for you to use a highlighter and he can trace the letter. That way you can see his writing through the highlighter. Encourage him to choose the color highlighter for different letters or words. This helps because it’s more immediate. You can sit with him and he can choose words he sees (cup, car, Mom, BB, etc). He sees how you form the letters, and he can follow by example. It can be a fun alternative to pre-printed pages (although I am totally making some workbook pages when I get home!).

    Katie in MAs last blog post..Thank goodness I speak toddler!

  4. Once again, I am so jealous! Jack will use other letters (magnets, foam) to spell his name, but he doesn’t want to write. I showed him the picture of BB writing, and asked if he wanted to do that. He said “no”.

    There’s a Thomas the Tank numbers book. I found it at Staples. I know BB’s a fan, so that might be fun for you all.

    1. Robyn; This is a “just last week” development. And totally unexpected as well. I was just going to “give it a go” and if it failed, I was going to wait awhile. I was really shocked that he took to it.

      And thanks for the heads up on the book. Yes, totally a fan!

  5. One of my children loved writing letters in shaving cream. I would spray shaving cream on a tray and let her go. She loved it. messy.

    Another liked writing words/scribbles on post-it notepads. She used them all the time, especially when taking orders at the play kitchen.

    My son is he third child…I don’t even remember how he learned to write his name…sad, I know.

    Sidewalk chalk is a must. Kids love to scribble on the driveway. Takes a bit of coordination to hold chalk and draw letters, but fun nonetheless.

    Musings from Mes last blog post..Wednesday R Us: Star Wars Birthday Party

  6. Great! I’m doing this right now with my 3 and a half year old. I am having a bit of a hard time getting him to do any letter other then “C”, though. I know he can do it, but he gets shy even with me – and then he starts, and stops. I know with time he’ll move on to other letters! Great post and great, great blog, by the way! I love stumbling across awesome mommy blogs. :)

    Loukias last blog post..A Brand New Loulou!

    1. Loukia; Glad you liked the post & blog! I like when new readers comment. Prior to last week, he wouldn’t write for me at all. Teachers, sure. But not me. So, there’s hope!

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