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Letter Formation


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Hi, that's quite a demand!

Letter formation is one of those things that is pretty much 'this is how you do it'. On the other hand, I know what you mean!


If you can get hold of the "Hand for spelling" books by Cripps, LDA is a source, there are lots of more interesting patterns etc that you can use, in books 1A & 1B ( other books are more about perfecting handwriting).


Remember that all fine motor development skills need to be practised for writing and even gross motor movements are essential for the finer control of a pencil.

I have found that using white boards and pens is the most effective way to teach letter formation following demonstration! Pens slide easily and enable the child to concentrate on the formation rather than the pen (does that make sense?). DO encourage the children not to rub out until told though and you can easily see their responses.

Tactile surfaces and in sand trays are also good ways of reinforcing the correct movements.


Teach a few letters at a time, probably in groups according to formation and depending on the preferred letter style of the school handwriting.

so: i,l,t, f, j / c,o,a, d, g,q, e / n,m,r,h, p, b/u, y, / z, x, s, k / v,w,


If you haven't got access to whiteboards, laminated sheets of paper and non permanent markers make a fairly good substition but will not be quite as slippy or as easy to clean.


Is that any help?

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Lucky Duck publishing produce something called 'Write Dance' which begins with excercises to music- some super music too. It is quite expensive and the instruction book is written in an amusing way, but it is great fun and uses techniques also used in accelerated learning.

The children begin by making gross motor movements to music and then over a period of time these movements become smaller and are put on paper. I just find it hard to fit it in regulary enough with everything else going on.

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I chalk large letters on the wall outside. The children enjoy going over these with paint brushes dipped in water. (I have had one or two comments from other teachers about my encouraging graffiti - I think they were joking :o


We also make sausage shapes from dough and form these into letters - laminated cards with the letter drawn on can help those who need it.


We work in letter families.



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at the beginning of the year we use dance ribbons (cut a wee bit shorter to make them manageable) for gross motor exercise and to get that left/right cross-over going. We use chalks, ground rice in little trays (better than sand as it holds it's shape), water and large paintbrushes for outdoors, 'magic slates' (those ones that you used to get as a child where you write on a grey screen with a 'pen' and move a tab to clear it. We also mangaged to find some mini magna doodles from the cheapo card shop. At only a £1 each we bought 8 enough for a small group and they have lasted all year!


We teach our handwiritng in letter families (curly caterpillars a o s g e d c f q; one-armed robots r, b, h, m, p, n,; long-ladder letters i. j. u. t. l. y and zig zag letters z.x.w.v.k.)

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