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A youthful child commences her journey of reading and writing as she learns to read and write her very first word. For most children, that very first word is her name. But just how do preschoolers make the hop to writing their names and the other letters of the alphabet? And is there a right and wrong way to instruct your child to write?

“Ideally, the very first materials used are not markers and pencils but materials that permit children to strengthen the muscles in their palms needed to decently hold writing implements,” says Mara Guckian, early childhood specialist and managing editor for Teacher Created Resources. “We add a tactile (kinesthetic) component when we practice shaping the letters with different materials. Shaping letters with dough, tracing them on textured paper cutouts, and writing in the sand or salt trays all help children internalize the form of the letter, while developing their fine motor abilities.”

Youthful children learn best when they are trained using a multisensory treatment, involving as many senses as possible. Attempt a few of these hands-on letter formation and name writing activities for beginning writers and your child will have all the abilities she needs as a beginning writer.

Letter Formation

Attempt a few of these joy activities to help your beginning writer learn the correct strokes when writing the letters of the alphabe t:

  • Air Writing. Have your child write letters in the air very first. These large muscle movements will help your child process what she is writing and make it more likely to stick. As she writes the letter, have her say the letter name or the directions for writing the letter. For example, for the letter T, she might say, “Commence at the top, go straight down. Pick up your pencil and cross it.”
  • Foamy Joy. While your child is in the bath, splash a bit of pruning juices on the side of the bath or wall. On a hot day this is also joy to do outside, and your patio table will sparkle when you're done! Permit your child to practice writing letters, and then erase and attempt another set. A playful challenge will get your child even more excited to write.
  • Kitchen Tracing. Pour a puny amount of sand or salt in a cake pan or baking dish. Permit your child to practice tracing letters without the pressure of more permanent writing utensils such as markers and crayons. If she makes a mistake, she can simply erase what she wrote and attempt again.
  • Paint Practice. For a non-messy alternative to fingerpaint, put a bit of fingerpaint inwards a quart or gallon zip strip bag. Liquidate the air, seal the bag and dual the seal with some masking or duct gauze. Your child can practice tracing letters on the outside of the bag, manipulating the paint with no mess or cleanup!
  • Learn Your Letters. When she is ready to stir to paper, give her large sheets of paper and showcase her the strokes to make different letters. If you can give the letters human characteristics, it will be even more joy! (For example, a letter E is a straight line with a hat, a belt and a shoe.)

Name Writing

Before your child embarks to write her name, she will need some practice identifying the letters in her name. Attempt a few of these joy name games and your child will master her John Hancock in no time!

If your child is youthful, she may find it lighter to identify and write all uppercase letters very first. Later on you can add the traditional written form with the very first letter capitalized and the rest lowercase when you instruct her to write her name the “kindergarten way.” Uppercase letters are much lighter to distinguish and write — for example, B, D, P and Q rather than b, d, p and q. Most youthful children do not have the fine motor control necessary to form lowercase letters and can become quickly frustrated.

  • Puzzle Practice. Make a name puzzle by writing your child’s name in large letters on a sheet of paper. Cut the letters apart and have your child reassemble the letters of her name in the correct order. Click here for more info on how to make your own name puzzle.
  • Sand Writing. Write the letters of your child’s name on a sheet of sandpaper. Permit her to trace the letters with her finger for a tactile name practice!
  • Trace the Name. When she is ready to begin writing her name, write the letters in large letters on a big sheet of paper. Have your child very first trace the letters with her finger several times, then the eraser side of the pencil, and then the pencil. Use a dab of paint on the end of her pointer finger to add a bit of color and even more multisensory practice tracing over the letters.
  • The arousing journey of reading and writing starts with the alphabet. Give your child a good commence to a lifetime of writing by providing hands-on practices with writing. These playful interactions will go a long way in creating a positive attitude about writing for your child!

    More preschool letter formation and name writing activities:

    Related video: Graduate School Research Focus


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