Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teaching Letters

I found an article in Parents magazine May 2008 (Um, yeah, I'm a little behind in my magazine reading, carrying on...) on teaching your child letters, I found a few good pointers and thought I would share them.

~ It's best to begin by teaching your preschooler to write their name
~ Even though it's easier to write capital letters don't encourage them to write their name in all capital letters - it's a hard habit for kids to break later
~ From their name you can teach them the rest of the upper case letters
~ MANY (if not most) kids write some of their letters backwards, don't worry it doesn't mean they're dyslexic
~ Don't be focused on just writing with pencils and crayons - these may actually be too small for your child's motor skill level, try using rubber grips (sold at any school supply store) or even larger markers and crayons)
~ "Straight Talk: after a child learns how to write her name in uppercase and lowercase letters, teach the rest of the capitals. Go in the order of difficulty: start with straight letters, then curvy ones, and end with diagonals, says Jan Olsen, a handwriting expert in Cabin John, Maryland."

Learning to Write Letters

Hello Bloggerland!!! Long time!! Just so you all know (not that I'm defending myself, but...), we have been doing school, big mama just hasn't had time to blog about it :)

Since Christmas we have made giant steps in Treyton's letter recognition and writing. At the beginning of the year, when I started trying to have Treyton write letters he wasn't ready, so we spent the majority of our time working on crafts, reading books, singing songs and doing fun activities. Now, however, we have shifted our focus to the actual letters, so we have found ourselves going back and learning the actual letters.

It was during the Christmas break that I started working a little harder with Treyton on writing his name. He started to show some real potential in learning his letters. Thus began our journey of learning to write our letters.

We started with learning the letters in Treyton's name, however, Treyton's name has some of the more difficult letters to learn (R and Y). So we learned T, E, O, and N. From there, instead of confusing him with the Y or starting on the more difficult R, we started going over some other easier letters. So far we have done H and L will be this coming up week. He does try to write the letter R and does pretty well with it but we haven't spent alot of time learning it, he's just picked it up in writing his name.

We spend about a week on each letter (we spent more like 2 1/2 weeks on E) . We start by taping the letter to the floor with tape (blue painters tape works great for this), we trace the letter with our fingers, the letter stays on the floor until we move onto the next letter. We talk about the sound of the letter as well as easy ways to remember how to write it and what it looks like, (H for example is like two roads with a bridge crossing it). Side Note: We are focusing on both the upper and lower case at the same time, I don't know if this is the normal way to do it or not, but Treyton seemed to pick it up so far so we're going to go with it, but if any of you have any pointers or reasons to only do upper or lower let me know - I would love to hear your opinion on the matter. We then spend some time learning to write the letter, Treyton, whom I thought would NEVER be able to do a workbook, actually reall enjoys this part. Later on in the week we spend a little time focused on the sound of the letter, and things that start with that letter. However, we don't focus on this part too strongly because Treyton struggles a little more (partly because of his speech) however, we do mention it and do a few worksheets on it.

One area that we are struggling with is that Treyton is a perfectionist and becomes frustrated if his letters aren't perfect within the first few attempts of writing them (just another reason we skipped R and Y for now) - he will actually start scratching out his letters if they don't meet his standard of what he thinks they should look like. Letters that I think look great for his level, he gets disappointed in. I have taken this opportunity to have the "practice makes perfect" talk and to let him know that it makes mommy and daddy more proud to see him try than to do it perfect the first time. I think he is getting it because he will tell me "mommy happy when I try." Even with these talks this is an area that I worry about for him, and keep in mind in attempting new things with him. If you give him too much too fast he will give up, mostly because he can't do it up to his own expectation.

Throughout the week we will do a craft focused on the letter - for N we took the letter (on an 8.5 * 11 paper) and glued on noodles. We also make a letter book for each letter, that I found on first school's website Treyton really enjoys these types of crafts. If we have time that week we will also do a few of the theme crafts - for H we learned about Hands and Horses so we colored a picture of a horse and decorated it with yarn (for the mane and tail) and beans for the hooves.

~ We do lots of worksheets these days because that seems to be what Treyton is interested in and also pretty effective.
~ In the last several months Treyton has perfected his colors (he knew them before but made a lot of little mistakes), the only one he still struggles with at all is purple and pink, we will get them confused alot.
~ As far as numbers and counting go: He can count to 5 without a problem and sometimes he even goes to 6. He gets the 8 - 9 -10, but for some reason struggles with 7. Pretty soon we are going to begin working on numerical numbers, but so far each time I have started he has not been very interested. (Is there a proper age to learn this? Is it too early?)