Directional arrows are a great help to young children during their first handwriting lessons. They are easy to understand symbols which provide straightforward instruction on the individual steps kids must make to form a letter. Teachers can use directional arrows to help their students visualise the step-by-step process of writing each letter. Directional arrows are part of a general handwriting-teaching technique called alphabet tracing.
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Created dotted-line templates for each letter of the alphabet for kids to trace over. Make the letters by hand or download the dotted letters font for Microsoft Word (see Resources). Begin with one letter per sheet, and introduce students to one letter at a time.
Place straight directional arrows on parts of letters requiring kids to draw a straight line. For example, for the capital letter N place an arrow pointing downwards. Follow this with a diagonal arrow and a third arrow pointing upwards.
Put a small number next to each arrow to indicate which line children must draw first. On the capital N example, the arrow pointing downwards will be number 1. The diagonal arrow will be number 2, and the arrow pointing upwards will be number 3.
Include curved arrows when the required action is to draw a curved line. Letters such as C, D, B and G cannot be drawn using straight lines. Use different colours to draw curved arrows, to ensure children spot the difference.
Place a U-shaped arrow next to straight parts of letters ending in a hook. Such letters include the lower-case letters t, a, g and j, as well as the capital letter J.
Tips and warnings
- Arrows are used during early handwriting lessons. When kids have become familiarised with the instructions, you can remove the directional arrows, but not the dotted fonts.
- When creating fonts by hand, ensure the dots are not close to each other. This may make the task too easy. However, if the dots are too far away from each other, children won't have a clear route to follow.
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