Sometimes it’s easy to tell that a child is ready to learn to write because they can easily pick up Cheerios using their thumb and index fingers or they can build with things like Lego’s with ease. Or they might walk around with a note pad and pencil jotting down “notes” like they have seen their parents do.
Joslyn was interested in writing and she would sit with a pencil and paper and write down “notes”. One day she was watching her dad make a list of what he needed for a project outside. He was thinking through all the materials he had and what he still needed as she was, unobserved by him, watching him carefully and imitating him. As dad remembered something he needed, like peat moss for the garden, he would write it down on the list. Soon his list was completed and he left the room for a minute. Joslyn came over to the table with the list that she had written. She looked at her dad’s list and at her list and decided that dad forgot something so she added it to his list. When dad came back, he noticed an addition to his list and asked Joslyn what she wrote. Joslyn, looking at her list, replied, “We also need bubbles for outside dad.”
Joslyn has shown an interest in communicating her ideas and a desire to learn to write. It’s a great indication that she is ready to learn the process of writing.
Introduction to Conventional Handwriting
Learning to write isn’t a chronological skill, not everyone develops the needed fine motor skills at the same age – it is more a skill that each child develops at their own rate. So if your child needs to continue doing pre-writing activities like drawing or making circles for a little while, it is okay. When they have a desire to write, then they are ready to go on.
Here is a progression of activities to guide your child to learn to write with ease. It’s important for them to practice writing the letters but not for extended periods of time. Doing one or two pages of letters to practice a day is enough for them to master forming the letters and still not get bored with the activity.
Dotted Letters for Handwriting
- We have had a lot of success using the dotted words and it’s easy for you to make for your child to trace.
- Start with the most important word in your child’s world: their name.
- Write their name in all capital letters to start. Later as your child’s fine motor skills develop, you will introduce lower case letters.
- You can make your own dotted words using our lined paper.
- Be sure to mention to your child that the dots are only temporary and will not be used in the future. Once we observed a young student that was very confident in writing their letters but after they were finished writing, they would go back and add the dots thinking the dots were part of the letters.
- When your child is first learning to write the individual letters it is helpful to make the beginning dot larger and to give a clue to the direction you want they to go, like with a small arrow.
- Once your child has mastered writing their own name and has developed their fine motor skills, then they are ready to go on to learn the rest of the alphabet.NOTE: If your child is interested in writing before kindergarten, check to see what font your local school district uses. Using the same font as they use in school will make your child’s life a little easier. It’s never fun to have to relearn something you have learned another way.