Parents-Please do not teach your child to how to write. I’m begging you. Please don’t…unless you are willing to do the following:
Find out which handwriting method is used in your school district.
Get a copy of the handwriting instructions for that method.
Follow the instructions!
Teach your child a correct and comfortable handgrip.
Use the right paper- plain for the first six months of instruction, then lined.
It is so frustrating and time-consuming to teach a child to write correctly if they have spent two years learning the wrong way! Many parents teach their children to write only capital letters. Others teach them to write with unnecessary loops and swirls. And children who are simply given those cute tracing books that are available everywhere can come up with a dozen different, and very wrong, ways to trace the letters!
So please, either make the effort to teach handwriting correctly, or let your child’s teacher do it.
I often wonder why my students don’t understand instructions or don’t follow along during lessons. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of what is going on with some of them!
Each week we make a little book about 3”x4” that shows our letter of the week and five words (with pictures) to “read” to me and then take home to read to parents. This week the letter is T and the words are table, tail, tub, tire, and toe. Each child reads their book to me at my desk.
After one boy finished he said, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Mrs. Maurer, how does Santa make all those toys?”
After I gave him my little spiel about all the hard-working elves I just sat for a moment and wondered how long he has been dwelling on Santa’s production problems instead of his phonics lessons!! I make it a point to NOT use toy as one of our T words because of the endless discussions that invariably ensue, so I’m not sure what even prompted his thought process.
This is just one example of the things that children obsess about. I have another student who is already counting the days until Halloween and talks about it every single day! If you consider all the frivolous things they can think about and add the day-to-day stresses and problems of their home life, it is no wonder their minds wander in class. One of the things we teach them is how to concentrate on the task at hand, but it obviously takes a while to actually acquire that skill.
Our normal schedule in kindergarten is to intensely study one letter of the alphabet each week. We review what it looks like, how it sounds, and what words we typically read and write with it. Hence the first week we talked about L and read log, light, lamp, look, lot, like, love, and lion. We reviewed how to write it on the correct lines for handwriting. We made a lion face with a paper plate. We wrote log. We read the Lazy Lion. We looked on our class list for names that begin with L.
Usually most of my students have been to preschool and have learned to recognize the entire alphabet. It is the sounds that typically give them trouble and tax their memories. It is the applications of the letters- writing, spelling, reading-that occupy our time.
Not this year.
This year I have a larger group of children who have not been to preschool. I also have a group that went to preschool, but for various reasons only learned half of their alphabet.
So this year we revert to Plan B- every letter, every sound, every week.
We will continue our “letter of the week” schedule in order to stay on track with the other two classes and to benefit my six children who know the entire alphabet. However, we will also recognize and review five letters each day during our morning and afternoon meetings in order to speed up the process for my other students. This means I must also create different daily work and homework for my two groups. A little more work for Mrs. Maurer, but that is the premise of teaching—reaching each student where they are and taking them where you want them to be.