Proper Letter Formation

We are beginning to demonstrate to the children that there are proper ways to form letters. This is very difficult to do in a whole class setting as we only have one set of eyes and often while helping redirect one child another child is working incorrectly. This is something that must be practiced over and over in order to make it a “Brain Habit”. Repetitive movements used in letter formation help to give the brain an accurate image of the letter shape. Letter formation basically is composed of straight lines and circle shapes. All letter shapes are formed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. By using exaggerated whole arm movements (making letters in the air) and the sense of touch (writing with the palm of the hand or a finger on a large flat surface ) and by encouraging these movements to be made, at times, with the eyes closed (to reduce visual confusion), the motor movements, or patterns of letter formation can be learned. If letter formation is automatic, memory and thinking is “freed up” to cope with the other skills needed, the auditory/visual/spatial aspects of writing. To give an analogy, think of learning how to drive a car for the first time, particularly a standard shift. Initially one has to worry about the movements of the stick shift, steering, learning how to work the clutch and brake pedals, remembering to check rear and side mirrors, road rules, etc. Once the stick shift movements become automatic, as they do with repetitive practice, one is free to concentrate on the other aspects of driving. Children with automatic letter formation can concentrate on the other aspects of writing.

We will begin our learning by making lines.  Lines always start at the top and go straight down. Next we will work on making slanted lines. Slanted lines always start at the top and go down. FInally we will work on making circles to practice the curved letters.  When making circles your child should start around the 2:00 position on a clock so that they are ready to make letters such as s and c that are curved.

We will be sending home a paper about how to properly form letters for your reference.  Please take some time to help your child learn to correctly form letters so that he or she finds writing a less daunting task.

Take a look at us sitting with our feet flat on the floor and using one hand to keep the paper from moving!

The Power Words Centre

Today we had time to explore our Power Words Centre. Power words are words that are often not easily sounded out using stretchy snake and our brains have to learn to read and write them automatically. Later in the year we will be introducing a list of words that are Grade One Power Words but for the time being we are working on the Power Words Centre activities that will focus on listening to the sounds heard in words when we say them and figuring out where in the word we heard the sound. Is the sound at the beginning, middle or the end? This can be a very difficult skill for some children to acquire, but with lots of exposure to activities like the ones in our Power Centees and through oral games played in the classroom and at home this essential foundation for pre-spelling skills will develop.

At home you can: Say a word to your child that has three sounds in it such as cat. Ask your child “is the /c/ ( c sound not letter name) at the beginning, the middle or the end of the word? Where is the /t/ sound? Where do you hear the /a/ sound? There is no need to show your child the visual of the word as we are developing oral skills in these types of activities!

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