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Topic: How do you teach your child to write?

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Subject: How do you teach your child to write?
Date Posted: 2/24/2008 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2006
Posts: 142
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If anyone can give me a few tips on how to start, that would be great.

I have a 4 year old and I will be home with her this summer, ( she be 4 1/2 by then) and I would really like to be the one to teach her her name and maybe her numbers and abc"s ( she knows them, but not by sight) I just see some other kids around her age who have gone to a private pre-school which I cannot afford, and they are writing and simple reading, numbers and abc's and I feel like she is going to behind  if I don't do something now .

I'm I right or just being parinoid? She is a smart kid, she picks up her dance lessons in like one class( thanks to my niece who teachs for free) and can sing lyrics to songs she has only heard a couple of times.

What I guess I'm asking is there a set way to do this, or should I just wait until she does start school, I would love to home school, but having to work outside the home is a nesscary thing for our family. I would love some tips or any advice you can give me.Thank-you so much...And if I am just being a little crazy, tell me..please :)



Date Posted: 2/24/2008 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2007
Posts: 13
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While I don't think there's any harm in doing some fun activities to learn letters (IF she's interested), I wouldn't worry much about being "behind".  My kindergartener is way ahead of our local public school's reading program.  My other daughter, who is 13 months younger, only started to show a real interest in learning to read in the past month or two, and still isn't very eager for formal instruction.

Reading is a developmental milestone, and it just doesn't make any more sense to rush that (in my opinion) than it would to rush them to walk or talk.

Keep it fun and light, and follow her lead.

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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Something you could try is having her write in cornmeal. You can put some cornmeal in a pie pan and just let her make the letters with her finger.  I agree with Carrie W.  "Keep it fun and light, and follow her lead." 

I used "Ready,Set, Go for the Code " with my children before doing a formal phonics program with them.


Something else I did was make all of the letters out of sandpaper from a template and put them on cards. Then my daughter could trace over the letters with her finger. I also did this with numbers.

I also let her make whatever letter she was working on out of cookie doh and we baked it. She made them out of play doh too. She also painted the letters and she used glue and made the letter shape on paper and put sparkles on it. There are lots of fun informal  activities you can have her do to learn the letters.  



Date Posted: 2/24/2008 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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If you want to take a look at "Get Ready for the Code" "Get Set for the Code" "Go for the Code" here is a link.


You can search for it here at pbs by the isbn numbers and put it on your wish list if you want it.  It's a wonderful reading  readiness program for young children.


Date Posted: 2/24/2008 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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I don't know if many schools still use it, but the traditional way to teach writing is to use that triple-lined paper -- remember the stuff? The solid lines were about an inch apart with a dotted line in the middle.

you start with repeating basic geometric shapes like zeros (oval), circles, triangles, etc, then gradually work on letters with similar shapes.  O, A, L, etc.  Make sure it's fun for her -- treat it like a special activity after chores are done or something.

Finger painting shapes and letters is also a fun way!  Chalk on the sidewalk is good -- especially that fat chalk that is easy to hold. You can also use a paintbrush and water on the sidewalk if you have landlord or neighbor issues that make chalk undesirable.

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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Here's an online site to help you teach handwriting. My children were not ready by age 4 so we used cornmeal and other activities  for some informal practice.


Date Posted: 2/24/2008 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2007
Posts: 191
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I agree with Carry letting her lead the way if she is ready and just keep it fun and simple.  When my children were first learning I read the books by Ruth Beechick.  I like her ideas about young learners. Melita


 There is Get Ready for the Code mentioned above and some people like to use the Five In A Row series.



Last Edited on: 2/24/08 8:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 2/24/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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Melita, I love  the 3 R's by Ruth Beechick.  I recommend getting the 3 R's regardless of what other resources you use.


Date Posted: 2/24/2008 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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One of the best things you can do for her is read to her a lot . After reading to her have her tell you back the story or part of the story.

"Honey for a Child's Heart" is a great resource for lists of books for children. You can also find book lists online.


Subject: Ready/Set/Go for the Code
Date Posted: 2/25/2008 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2006
Posts: 9
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Just wanted to add to the recommendation for the Ready/Set/Go for the Code books.  My daughter really enjoys these.

Big Preschool workbooks that can be found at the toy store or bookstore usually have letter tracing activities too.

Another option is a write on / wipe off board or book with traceable letters and numbers, like these at Lakeshore Learning.  (if the link doesn't work, go to the LakeshoreLearning.com site and search on "trace letters".)  My daughter used to love doing these over and over.

Far more expensive would be a handwriting curriculum like "Handwriting Without Tears", but that will teach proper letter formation from the start so she won't have bad habits later.

When you think she might be ready to start sounding out short words, BOB books and the like are  pretty cheap at bookstores.  They are simple stories in little paperbacks with just a few pages, like: "Mat.  Mat sat.  Sam.  Sam sat on Mat.  Sam has a hat." etc.


Date Posted: 2/25/2008 3:25 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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Another resource is Starfall.   My daughter liked this when she was younger.




Date Posted: 2/25/2008 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I would look into the Handwriting Without Tears program.  It's inexpensive and fun!  We've used it for 5 years.



Subject: teaching letters
Date Posted: 2/25/2008 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2005
Posts: 75
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Set up a fun place for her. Sit with her and  do the small projects  suggested above.  Always leave  a write and wipe board on her desk.  You will be surprised how she will sit and practice.  She will ask for help and you can demonstrate a letter for her.  I have a four year old boy- I was worried about the writing part too.    These past three months- he has asked for  a trace printout of a certain letter every day from learningpage.com. He loves to go at  his own pace. ( just this moment) He has come to me with  his letter A .

Enjoy your daughter- A mom can teach her child everything a preschool can.




Date Posted: 2/25/2008 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2007
Posts: 59,977
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My oldest 3 went to PS until Jan. last year. Before they all started Kindergarten I taught them the alphabet, how to count to 100, how to write their names and tie their shoes. Then they started Kindergarten and were bored for the first few months. lol Even though a lot of the other kids already knew those things the teacher still had to teach them because there were a lot of kids that didn't know them so I wouldn't be worried if I were you.

That being said, we do 1 letter and 1 number a week for our 3 yr old. We do coloring pages, crafts and read stories while picking out the letter. I just let her do as much as she wants to do. It has been going really well. I also let her trace them and  try to write them on a pad that has those lines that were mentioned in another post. She also likes to point them out on signs when we are running errands.

Date Posted: 2/26/2008 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 54
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Well, I am not homeschooling my son, but I am teaching him stuff before he starts kindergarten. So I guess I am kinda. Christian turns 3 in March and recognizes all his uppercase lettters and a few of his lowercase.  A lot of it is the fridge phonics toy from leapfrog. We also use dry erase wipe away books for him to learn to write his letters and other things. I think it works better than paper. The first time he saw it he was thrilled and drew in it for more than an hour trying to trace everything. He can now write the letters I, H, T, L, U, P, O, E, F  and learns more all the time.  I have ordered a couple off of PBS also, there are 2 listed in posted right now for letters. I think I just searched  "letter wipe", there are all sorts though.

Another idea I have been told it buy the cheap dollar store workbooks that have the letters on the 3 lines and laminate them. Works great and isn't too expensive.  Best of luck.


Date Posted: 2/28/2008 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
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You can make your own "wipe off" boards.  To help my daughter learn to write her own name, I wrote her name on some of that lined paper with the dotted line in the middle.  (You can buy a tablet of that inexpensively at WalMart or Meijer if there is no teacher store in your area.)  I then glued the paper to a piece of cereal box cardboard and covered the whole thing with contact paper.  (Actually--I had three rows: one where she could trace her name, and two below it where she could practice writing it on her own.)  She used a dry erase marker to practice.

Oddly enough, she liked the home-made version better than anything fancy I brought home.  (I also noticed she liked my home-made flash cards better than the colorful store-bought ones I had.) 

Another way to make any of your workbooks into reusable wipe-off books is to buy a clear report cover or a plastic sleeve to place your workbook page into.

Date Posted: 2/28/2008 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2008
Posts: 24
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The above ideas are really good. To them I would add: workbooks from the dollar store or other retailer. We have used Ready Writer and Reason for Handwriting, both homeschool curriculum. The mom-made ideas mentioned above are great! I've always had the best intentions to make such things but usually end up purchasing something.