After your child is able to BOTH recognize and construct their name then it MIGHT be time to practice writing. Please be sure that your child is ready & be sure not to push your child into writing which he/she may find frustrating.
I cannot urge enough to be sure that your child/student is ready for this step. Generally I have found 4 year olds are typically ready. But, all children are different. Some things to look for: Does your child like to play write? Do they have an interest in their written name? Does he/she like to trace? If so, maybe it is time to learn to write our name!
-First off: Just start with the first letter of his/her name. This will be MUCH less overwhelming, especially for those with long names!
-Start with tracing. You write the letter (to make sure you are forming them correctly, find out if your school district uses D’Nelian or Zaner Bloser- click the links to view samples.) with a light colored marker or crayon. I like to use grey. Student traces over it.
*A note about dotted or dashed lines: See the pic below? Confusing much? Too many dots and arrows! I feel strongly that using dots and dashes are not only confusing, but students sometimes want to go dot to dot, making their writing rigid rather than fluid. I ALWAYS write their name as it should be written- remember only use a capital at the beginning of the name (Sammy- SAMMY – )
Image from About.com
This is a free assessment from the Handwriting Without Tears Program (this is what I use for Pre-k and love it) See how the lines just look like crayon strokes?
When your child is tracing their name or any letter, be sure to observe them closely to make sure that they are starting in the right spot and making the correct strokes. Also, I always have my pre-k students use crayons or golf pencils when writing. Reasoning…well, their hands are much smaller than ours. So, using a pencil that works for us, is harder to hold for smaller hands. When learning to form letters, we don’t want students to become frustrated with the writing utensil, so be sure it fits in their hand well.
Other ways to practice forming letters:
There are lots of other ways to practice forming letters and practicing their name other than pencil and paper!
-White boards/chalkboards: using different mediums always make learning more fun!
- Using salt in a tray and a paint brush to write name. Or, try putting hair gel in a ziploc, lay flat on the table and use finger to write. We also LOVE using shaving cream, spreading it on the table and writing with our fingers.
-We also use window markers/crayons from Crayola and write names on the window. When it gets cold my daughter loves to write her name in the frost on the storm door!
-Name Writing Notebook: I created a name writing notebook for my pre-kers to practice writing their name in an appropriate sequence.
The possibilities are endless! I would love to hear how to help your young ones practice letter formation. Please SHARE!