It is common to teach preschoolers and kindergarteners one letter per week. Practice this week's letter each day. In addition, a few minutes review of previously learned letters is important.
In addition to recognizing the letters of the alphabet, they will also practice writing the letters. Since the fine motor control required to manipulate a pencil is still developing, it is helpful to have a variety of techniques to reinforce letter formation.
Handwriting practice for preschoolers incorporates a variety of techniques to engage the students. Here are some examples.
- 1. Trace the letter on the flashcard with your finger.
- 2. Trace the letter in the air.
- 3. Write the letter with a large pencil on lined paper.
- 4. Have sand in a plastic bowl. Trace the letter in the sand.
- 5. Use finger paints and write the letter in the finger paint.
- 6. Use shaving lotion as "finger paint." It can be spread on the table, on a cookie sheet, or on the side of the tub.
- 7. Use glue as a pen and write the letter on blank paper. Sprinkle with glitter or colored sand.
- 8. Use pipe cleaners to form the letters.
- 9. Make the letter out of string or yarn.
- 10. Use dots to form the letter: pieces of cereal, small rocks, candy pieces, dot shaped stickers, etc.
- 11. If you have a tile floor with lines and squares, pretend one of the lines is the bottom line of paper. "Draw" the letter with your stocking feet. This s great exercise for the young dancers and gymnists.
- 12. Write the letter on another person's back. They have to tell you which letter you wrote. (It helps to narrow it down to one of three possible letters.)
- 13. Write and wipe on the "magic slates" that are available at dollar stores and allow you to erase work by lifting the plastic sheet.
Letter of the Week
Weekly Handwriting Practice For Preschool
If you are working on a letter for the week or day, you can set up "stations" around a table or work area. This will give them handwriting practice of the preschool letter of the week. At each place at the table place one activity for one type of writing technique. The child will practice the same letter repeatedly at each "station."
Here's an example:
1st: Trace it on the card.
2nd: Trace it in the air, finger paint, sand, or one of the other techniques listed above.
3rd: Write it with paper and pencil (other ideas below.)
4th: Write it with objects (string, pipe cleaners, dots or other ideas above.)
5th: Write it on paper again.
The outcome: The child has "written" the letter five times. Compared to simply writing the letter five times on a workbook page, he or she has had more opportunity to be "engaged" and interact with the letter formation.
To keep the activity interesting, each day use different
objects and techiques, but follow the same basic pattern.
When reviewing previously learned letters for handwriting practice for preschool, it may be helpful to limit to only one technique listed above. For instance, you might choose to trace in the air, or to form the letters with pieces of cereal.
Say a letter, or show a letter to the child. Have him or her practice "writing" the letter using the technique of the day.
You can reinforce letter identification, phonic sounds, matching upper and lower case, and handwriting at the same time.
Due to a preschoolers attention span, it would advisable to limit the review to between 3 and 5 letters each day. Of course, if they are begging for more, it certainly is appropriate to accomodate their request. But many young students do better with a short review of only a few letters before their interest wanes.
The next day, use a different technique.
While we do use other techniques while fine motor skills are developing, grasping a pencil or other writing utensil is part of that fine motor development. However, creative use of common materials adds variety to this task as well. Here are some of the different writing utensils you likely have available:
- colored pencils
- white board markers
Now we can mix and match writing utensils with the material to be written on:
- lined paper
- unlined paper
- strips of paper in different colors
- sticky notes
- scratch pads
- chalk boards
- white boards
Variety adds interest. Handwriting practice for preschoolers should include variety and different media to maintain interest. When they are interested, they want to "do just one more."
A Unique Handwriting Program for Kids
Read about the Better Letter Primer
. Our handwriting program for kindergarten and above.