We have three little ones here who are learning how to write their letters. They are getting pretty good at it. So good that most strangers can recognize most of their letters. Not bad for 3 and 4 year olds! We do, however, still need a bunch of practice.
Those letter worksheets can be a real drag, though. They have a tendency to completely flatten the mood of our otherwise boisterous and happy school time. So, we compromised, my little ones and I. Here’s how:
We use the wonderful series of books called “Draw. Write. Now.” to pump up the fun. Each book features dozens of images with step by step (and very easy) instructions so that children, and their spastic mommies, can successfully reproduce the picture. Each image also features 4 sentences about the subject.
We choose a picture to do each week. We use special forms I created, with a space on top for their name and two lines at the bottom for writing practice. I left plenty of open white space in the middle.
Monday, we write our names at the top, take our first crack at following the instructions and write the first of the four sentences as neatly as we can. Then the children decide which letter they had the most trouble writing and they practice writing it 5 times, very carefully and neatly, on a lap chalkboard. Once they’ve conquered their toughest letter, they get 5 minutes of drawing whatever they’d like before we move on.
Tuesday we take a second try at the picture and write the second sentence. Wednesday we do take three, usually adding something else from the picture that isn’t in the instructions (for example the picture of a chicken has chicks with it and a background. We added the chicks on Wednesday). Then Thursday we do the fourth sentence and for the picture we try to include the entire background.
By Friday, we have ourselves a lovely book, created by the children, and they’ve gotten bucket loads of writing practice. We still do practice worksheets every day. I usually choose letters they have discovered are tricky for them and they don’t complain a bit. They understand the direct link between that practice and the fun writing they get to do later in the day. Each little book we make is better and better and they are proud of every one of them.