Hand Writing

It May Be...
There is no app for learning how to write letters included in the Reading Program’s 14 apps.  It may be the child using this program has already learned how to write letters in preschool, kindergarten or first grade.  It may be that the parent has already been teaching the child letter shapes.  Or, it may be that the child will need to be taught how to write letters before he or she can begin any of the Program’s writing activities.

A Series of Activities
In classrooms using the Reading Program, children are taught to write letter shapes using a series of activities.  For the convenience of parents who may be assisting their children in learning to write letters, explanations of and links to the classroom letter writing activities are included here.

The Links

Click here for Alphabet Flipbooks
Click here to see the Alphabet Flipbooks assembled

The Flipbooks and the Salt Tray
To practice writing letters, the child needs a letter’s Alphabet Flipbook and a salt tray.  A salt tray can be any shallow box or tray - for example, a mini-pizza box.  The tray needs to be deep enough to hold salt to a depth of between 1/4 and 1/2 inches, and not let the salt spill out when gently shaken.  Sand can be used instead of salt.

The salt tray is the child’s letter-drawing board.  Using his or her finger as a writing instrument, the child draws the first stroke of the letter in the salt by copying the blue line on the first page of the flipbook.  When the first stroke of the letter has been drawn in the salt, the child flips to the second page of the flipbook and draws the orange line in the salt.  When done, the child simply gives the salt box a little shake and the letter disappears.  The salt is now ready to let the same letter be written again or to accept the drawing of a new letter.

The flip books are used to guide the child to which part of a letter is drawn first, which part second, and so on.  The dot at the beginning of the blue and orange lines indicate to the child where he or she is to begin when drawing that line.  An occasional letter takes more than two lines to draw.  For these letters, the third and/or fourth lines are also colored blue and orange and arrows indicate the appropriate starting points.

The child may practice any of the letters he or she wishes, repeating any as often as is wished.  If subsequent experience indicates the child needs more practice on specific letters, the parent can assign the appropriate flipbooks for the child’s use.

The letter sequence flipbooks give the child the opportunity to experience what it feels like to write each letter without yet having to record the letter on paper, removing at the start any perceptual or coordination difficulties he or she might encounter.

Letter Writing Worksheets
The Alphabet Worksheets in the classroom kit are laminated to provide an easily erasable writing surface. The downloaded worksheets (see link below) can be inserted into a laminated folder to provide the erasable writing surface. A second option is to place the worksheet being used on a clipboard and then covered with a sheet of plastic lamination.

The child writes the letters on the laminated surface with erasable marking pen.  The child then uses a moist cloth to erase the laminated surface before beginning the next worksheet

Click here for Letter Writing Alphabet Worksheets

A Different Kind of Practice
The Alphabet Worksheets give the child a different kind of practice in writing letters. The letter writing worksheets represent the child’s first opportunity to write (or at least trace) each letter using a writing instrument.  The worksheets use the same blue and orange codings for how each letter is to be written as do the Alphabet Flipbooks.

Letter Writing Templates
The Letter Writing Templates are the child’s first opportunity to transfer onto a piece of paper what he or she has learned about writing letters.  The child places the template on a piece of paper and, using the blue and orange reminding codes, copies the letter on the template through the square hole and onto the paper.

Click here for Letter Writing Templates
Click here for Letter Writing Templates making instructions

Unlined Templates - Letters in Isolation
The unlined templates are used first. Prior to this point in the sequence of letter writing activities, the writing of each letter was practiced in isolation.  The unlined templates continue the practice of writing each letter in isolation. The lined templates are only introduced when the unlined templates have been mastered, which means the child had shown that he or she can write the individual letters on paper.

Lined Templates - Refining Letter Writing Skills
The lined templates refine the child’s letter writing skills.  Each of the letter writing activities that have preceded the lined templates have taught the child how to write individual letters.  When letters are learned in isolation, however, there is no way to tell how large or how small each letter is when compared to another.  The natural assumption the child might make is that all letters are written the same size.  Although the letters to which the child is exposed as a natural part of daily life would indicate otherwise, a child who has learned to write letters without regard to their relative size is apt to write a group of letter that are all the same size.

To use the lined template, the child places the template on a piece of lined paper (see link below) and, matching the template's lines to the paper's lines, copies the letter on the template through the square hole and onto the paper.

A Frame of Reference
The lined letter writing templates provide a model for how large each letter is supposed to be compared to all other letters, and a frame of reference for knowing which letters are to be extended above the line, which below, and which do not extend in either direction.

This frame of reference was not introduced at the earlier handwriting levels because it was not needed.  Prior to this point in the sequence of letter writing activities, the writing of each letter was practiced in isolation.  The only time a child needs to know how individual letters relate to one another is when these letters are to be written side by side. As the child begins using the decoding chart to write words, the child will be writing letters side by side.

Lined Paper
Since parents do not usually have access to the same kind of lined paper often used in schools to facilitate the learning of hand writing, the link below provides downloadable lined paper for use with the lined Letter Writing Templates.

Click here to download Lined Paper