Today’s guest post comes from the lovely Meeghan who blogs over on Sight and Sound Reading. We’ve recently been working on the letters of the alphabet with Nicholas and as he gets closer to learning how to write those letters, I’ve been on the hunt for some tips and tricks to make it easier. Amazingly enough, Meeghan is sharing all of that with us today! While teaching your child to write their name can seem like a daunting task, Meeghan shares some amazing ideas for making it simple and fun for both you and your child!
I am currently working with my 4 year old son to help him write his name. You may remember a few weeks ago, when he practiced writing his name on a Dr. Seuss hat. In this post I will show you another activity that we do to help him learn to write his name.
First and foremost, your child should be able to recognize all the upper and lower case letters in the alphabet. It is also so important that your child understand that there is a difference between the upper and lower case letters. Upper case letters are really only used to begin a sentence, to begin someone’s name, and a few other minor instances. The majority of the letters that children will read are lower case letters. So – rule #1 is to make sure that your child can recognize the lower case letters. If you need help with teaching the alphabet, you can check out this video.
Next, we start out by having the child learn to grip a pencil correctly. Some children seem to be naturals at holding a pencil, whereas others need a little bit more guidance. The child’s grip does not need to be perfect to start learning to write but, we do believe it does help in learning to form letters correctly and quickly.
The third skill your child should know before writing his/her name is knowing how to spell his/her name. To help a child with this, I always find it helpful to make up a song or cheer or jingle that is catchy and the child likes to chant. For instance, for the name Kevin, you may chant K-E-V-I-N, Kevin, Kevin, he’s my friend! You can also sing his name to “Old MacDonald” substituting BINGO for KEVIN.
After the child knows how to grip a pencil correctly, and knows that capital letters are used only for the first letter of his/her name, and the child knows how to spell his/her name, you are ready to begin!
I usually begin by cutting strips of sturdy card stock or poster board to be a few inches high by about 6-9 inches long. I then write guide lines and then add the letters from the child’s name written on the lines. I usually write both the individual letters on guide lines, as well as writing the child’s first name on guide lines. I make the letters and the name fairly large so that the child can practice his/her name fairly easily. Next, I use tracing paper and paper clips to clip the tracing paper to the poster board. I have the child trace over his/her name. I frequently remind the child that when writing letters, you start at the top of the guide lines and pull down and around. I watch to make sure the child always starts a letter at the top of the guide so that he/she is learning to form the letters correctly while using the tracing paper.
Here is a picture of my son tracing the letters of his name on sturdy card stock with tracing paper ‘paper clipped’ to the top of it.
Below he is tracing his entire name using the tracing paper. I had to guide him several times – making sure that he started each letter in the correct spot – “start at the top, pull down and around!”
Once the child has mastered using the tracing paper, I have the child practice writing his/her name by just looking at the letters. (This was done in the Dr. Seuss post). Another thing you can do is to incompletely write your child’s name and have your child fill in the blank with the missing letters.
Anyway…here are a few pictures of my 2 year old wanting to write his name as well…first he was serious. Then, he noticed I was watching him…
Hey, wait – this is sort of fun!
Look Mommy, I did it! I wrote (my brother’s) name!
Meeghan (Karle) Mousaw has her Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame. She also has her Masters in Special Education from Assumption College. She re-discovered her mother’s reading program when trying to teach her daughter to read. She was amazed at how easy it was to teach her, and she loved that her daughter asked to practice reading every day. Immediately she knew it would be great for ALL children, especially those who struggle to learn to read. She was inspired to help her mother reach more children with her program. Meeghan is married and has four (soon to be five) children. Aside from spending time with her family, she loves supporting her alma mater by attending the University of Notre Dame athletic events.