Between the ages of 2 and 4, most children learn to recognise and identify the letters of the alphabet. The next step is learning to write. Writing involves using the hand in a controlled manner to form the alphabets. Allow your child to draw, doodle and play with finger paints before teaching him to write. This practice at holding small objects will help develop muscle coordination, which is the key to good writing.
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Develop muscle coordination. Encourage children to hold small objects like chalk, pencils and crayons. Give them a blank sheet of paper and allow them to doodle. The simple act of moving the pencil or crayon over paper helps to develop the muscles involved in the writing process. As children doodle, their muscle coordination improves, laying a foundation for the right finger movements when they begin writing the alphabet.
Use tracing worksheets. Practice with drawing shapes can make it easier to write the alphabet. Buy books with worksheets for tracing lines and shapes. Have your child trace out these shapes in the book. Then have him do the same on a blank sheet of paper. When the child learns to draw the shapes with reasonable accuracy, teach him to draw within a definite space. Draw two horizontal lines separated by an inch or two on the blank sheet. Ask your child to draw the same shapes in the space between these two lines. Drawing within this restricted area will teach him to control hand movements.
Determine the sequence. Writing the alphabet can be taught in various ways. Some people prefer to finish with the letters in upper case and then move to the lower case. Others teach both simultaneously for a given letter. Speak to your child's teacher to know which system the school follows. Follow the same sequence to make learning easier for your child.
Practice writing in sand. Place sand in a wide box and make a game of writing the alphabet in the sand. Make sure the child is watching your hand movement and write the letter "A" in the sand. Ask your child to trace it out with his finger. Check to see if he is doing it in the right direction and correct if necessary. Have him repeat this tracing many times. Then level out the sand to erase the letter completely and get the child to write the same alphabet by himself. Give him enough time and guide him if required, to complete writing it himself. Once the child has learnt writing letter "A" completely, begin with letter "B". When you begin afresh the next day, revise the letters your child learnt on the previous occasion before moving on to learning newer ones.
Use alphabet tracing worksheets. Download alphabet-tracing worksheets from websites like TLS Books and Teachnology. Get your child to practice tracing the alphabets on these worksheets. After your child has practised tracing an alphabet on the worksheet, have him write it out on a blank sheet like before, within a restricted space.
Tips and warnings
- Buy reusable tracing books that can be wiped clean for repeated use.
- Reinforce awareness of the letters your child has learnt to write by asking him to identify the same on signs, billboards, number plates and the newspaper.
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