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Thread: learning to write

  1. #1

    Default learning to write

    Any preschool teachers or ECE majors here? I have a question regarding letter formation. I am going to google and search, but I thought I would ask here. DS writes his letters from bottom to top, and does well, but I know the way it is taught is top to bottom. How important is it that he learn to form the letters the correct way if he has figured out his own way to do it? He was just playing with his etch-a-sketch a few months ago, and discovered he could write letters. I have tried to teach him how to write, and he can do it, but he just does it his own way.

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    I am not an education professional, but I think it would make a difference when he starts learning cursive. The letters would not flow the same way if he continues to write them from bottom to top. I'm sure many children start out writing letters in whatever way works to make the shape, but personally I would gently help him get used to writing letters from top to bottom.
    Its great that he is recognizing and writing letters, though!!

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    [QUOTE=KC's wifey;1058764078]I am not an education professional, but I think it would make a difference when he starts learning cursive. The letters would not flow the same way if he continues to write them from bottom to top. I'm sure many children start out writing letters in whatever way works to make the shape, but personally I would gently help him get used to writing letters from top to bottom. QUOTE]

    My DD does the same, starts at bottom, and teacher said the same as above - it will cause problems with cursive writing. I'm gently trying to correct her and she is getting much better with practice :-)
    V (36) Single, working mum to DD (5) DS (3)



  4. #4

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    The handwiting curriculum we use even has a little song to sing to the preschoolers, "where do we start our letters? At the top!"

    It should be corrected. It will make a difference later. Though I forget why. With the exception of the capital letters cursive starts at the bottom.

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    I am lefthanded and do most of my letter formation backwards to what the norm is. I hate cursive writing and only do it when necessary. Some places don't teach cursive writing anymore, so it might not be a problem for him.

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    Just wanted to throw in that in Kindergarten they are learning the proper way to write letters. Chances are when he gets to school they are going to want him to write them the from top to bottom and will work on that with him. My DD is lefthanded and like the PP she sometimes forms them backwards.
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  7. #7

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    They will likely correct him when he starts kindy. I don't see anything wrong with gently correcting him but I'd also just let him doodle around and get used to how the letter look and such without too much "coaching" at his age.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    They will likely correct him when he starts kindy. I don't see anything wrong with gently correcting him but I'd also just let him doodle around and get used to how the letter look and such without too much "coaching" at his age.
    This is what I do with Emme. She is left-handed and like some PP's mentioned she has her own way to form letters. I have a letter sheet specifically for left-handed people to show how they should form letters, but it's still top to bottom.

  9. #9

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    Thanks everyone. I will continue doing what I've been doing...letting him write how he wants, but when he asks me to show him, I show him the correct way, but just continue doing it gently. Maybe we'll luck out and he won't have a teacher who will get on him for writing them the "wrong" way...I hate that.

    When I taught, we did not teach handwriting at all. There was no curriculum, so the teacher before me may have taught their students a different way than I did.

    I also did not stress how children formed their letters. If it was legible, that was enough for me (I taught first grade). And honestly, there are multiple "correct" ways to form letters correctly, so even if he does it one way, his kinder teacher could do another. I do think that sometimes children get so caught up on forming the letters just the right way, that their writing (content, style, etc) suffers because they are so worried about their handwriting as opposed to getting their thoughts down....that is something I saw when I taught older kids. And, what annoys me is when I was looking back at some of the correct ways to form letters, it's not as efficient as it could be...like the letters M and A..those are much easier to start at the bottom.

  10. #10

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    Here is an explanation of why to start from the top. http://www.hwtears.com/advocate/teac...AT_THE_TOP.pdf Honestly, I would correct him. It will be easier for him to change now than later, and while there are many ways to shape a letter, there *are* correct ways to do it, why make it more difficult for him later? If he had decided that 2+2=6 you would teach him the correct answer and wouldn't feel like you were hurting his feelings or squashing his creativty by teaching him the correct answer.

    But then again, maybe he will never have to write as we are moving to a typing only society


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    Scharae struggles with starting at the top for certain letters and numbers. It really does make a difference for some of them. For instance, her 9 and g look almost identical (although she can ALWAYS tell you which is which even if they're random on a page) and it's because she starts at the bottom. If I get her to start at the top they look obviously different. Her D and 0 also look the same unless i make sure she starts at the top.

    I would gently push him towards doing it correctly. The little song helps, worksheets that have dotted lines with a larger dot at the top starting point are things that have helped Scharae, drawing circles, triangles starting at the top, etc.

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by runningmomofmany View Post
    Here is an explanation of why to start from the top. http://www.hwtears.com/advocate/teac...AT_THE_TOP.pdf Honestly, I would correct him. It will be easier for him to change now than later, and while there are many ways to shape a letter, there *are* correct ways to do it, why make it more difficult for him later? If he had decided that 2+2=6 you would teach him the correct answer and wouldn't feel like you were hurting his feelings or squashing his creativty by teaching him the correct answer.

    But then again, maybe he will never have to write as we are moving to a typing only society
    You are right, is easier now. In fact, he started to write his letters when we were visiting family, and family members were really encouraging him to write it however he wanted. Then, when he showed me, I showed him how to start at the top (he was writing E's and Hs) and he's been fighting me ever since! (not really fighting but really resistant)..so yeah, I can see how it would only get harder.

    I have seen different ways to form letters. I have been teaching him the Zaner-Bloser method, and will continue too, since it seems to be the most common. He actually does love to trace, and I bought him some Kumon books that teaches the correct way.

    And no, I would not worry about hurting his feelings if he insisted 2+2=4 because there is no wiggle room in that, but a B is still a B regardless of how it's formed.

    You are right that we are moving to a typing only society. I should let him type more!!

    The pdf won't load, but I will look at it when it does. Thank you!

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    Handwriting is admittedly outside my area of knowledge, but I agree that it is easier to shape his learning sooner rather than later. I would personally guide him gently in the right direction, but not push if it seems to turn him off of wanting to learn or work with you.
    Me (39) DH (46) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksLikeRain View Post
    Scharae struggles with starting at the top for certain letters and numbers. It really does make a difference for some of them. For instance, her 9 and g look almost identical (although she can ALWAYS tell you which is which even if they're random on a page) and it's because she starts at the bottom. If I get her to start at the top they look obviously different. Her D and 0 also look the same unless i make sure she starts at the top.

    I would gently push him towards doing it correctly. The little song helps, worksheets that have dotted lines with a larger dot at the top starting point are things that have helped Scharae, drawing circles, triangles starting at the top, etc.
    See I can see how that would make things more difficult once he starts writing more numbers and lower case letters. Right now, I am really noticing it's the straight lines that he just wants to write from the bottom up.

    I looked at the pdf that the PP posted, and did the test with writing the lines from the top and bottom. Mine were neater from the top. Then, I quickly wrote the alphabet to see what I do instinctively, and all started from the top except N. I guess I was taught well. I remember getting an "outstanding" for penmanship LOL.

    That is a god idea about even drawing shapes from the top. He shows no interest in drawing any shape but a circle, but it will be a good opportunity to remind him where to start when he does.

    His circles are, however, always drawn from the top.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    Handwriting is admittedly outside my area of knowledge, but I agree that it is easier to shape his learning sooner rather than later. I would personally guide him gently in the right direction, but not push if it seems to turn him off of wanting to learn or work with you.
    Thanks. I model it correctly, and then I direct him how to do it, but 9 times out of 10, he does it how he wants to do it when he then practices independently.

    Maybe I'll do some other writing activities that don't involve writing on paper...like using fingers to write letters in sugar/sand or writing them in the air or really big on our easel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by i.<3.cheesysmiles View Post
    Maybe I'll do some other writing activities that don't involve writing on paper...like using fingers to write letters in sugar/sand or writing them in the air or really big on our easel.
    That's a great idea. Shaving cream on the table is another one you could try.
    Me (39) DH (46) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    That's a great idea. Shaving cream on the table is another one you could try.
    I never tried that! Even though I taught first-grade, I had a lot of children coming to me who couldn't write their letters, so we did a lot of that fun letter-writing stuff.

    I have an extra can of shaving cream that we were going to use for some sensory stuff. I'll try that next week. I like activities where both boys can participate...it'll be just exploring for DS2 (2 years old), but I'll have DS1 try writing some letters in it if he can handle touching it.

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    I just wanted to add that my DS writes and draws best on the magnetic erasable tablet, the plain black and white with a magnetic pen and a slider to erase. The little pen on it fits his hand well and he can write and draw anything on it. He does not like to write on paper as much.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by impatient View Post
    I just wanted to add that my DS writes and draws best on the magnetic erasable tablet, the plain black and white with a magnetic pen and a slider to erase. The little pen on it fits his hand well and he can write and draw anything on it. He does not like to write on paper as much.
    like the etch-a sketch? that is his favorite. He got one for Christmas, and on vacation at my parents is when he discovered he could write letters using the etch-a sketch. He has recently gotten into writing with markers and crayons, but he loves the etch a sketch. I think he likes it too because he can erase easily. He also likes dry erase...it's nice and smooth and het can write and write again. What I do is slip in paper (either plain or with something for him to do) inside a plastic sleeve, and it works well with a dry erase marker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    They will likely correct him when he starts kindy. I don't see anything wrong with gently correcting him but I'd also just let him doodle around and get used to how the letter look and such without too much "coaching" at his age.
    Totally agree with this. When DD1 was in preschool she became obsessed with writing letters and copying words. Her letter formation wasn't perfect and while I tried a few times to show her the correct way to write them (only to find out later in kindergarten that my way isn't exactly perfect, either!) but was met with, "Moooom...this is how *I* do it!" I gave up. She did indeed learn correct letter form in K and had no issues with it. DD2 is starting to write her name and a few other letters, and I'm pretty much just letting her do it her way for now.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzmom View Post
    Totally agree with this. When DD1 was in preschool she became obsessed with writing letters and copying words. Her letter formation wasn't perfect and while I tried a few times to show her the correct way to write them (only to find out later in kindergarten that my way isn't exactly perfect, either!) but was met with, "Moooom...this is how *I* do it!" I gave up. She did indeed learn correct letter form in K and had no issues with it. DD2 is starting to write her name and a few other letters, and I'm pretty much just letting her do it her way for now.
    Thanks! That is EXACTLY what DS says! I will still teach him the correct way, but with no pressure. I bet once he gets to school he will listen to the teacher, and do it *her* way. Sometimes kids do listen better to their teachers than mom

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    Quote Originally Posted by i.<3.cheesysmiles View Post
    Thanks! That is EXACTLY what DS says! I will still teach him the correct way, but with no pressure. I bet once he gets to school he will listen to the teacher, and do it *her* way. Sometimes kids do listen better to their teachers than mom
    That is for sure true!
    Me (39) DH (46) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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    Something happened to my reply to you but yes, etch-a-sketch is what I was talking about. I just could not think of the word etch-a-sketch at the time.
    Last edited by impatient; 02-28-2013 at 07:28 PM.

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