Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Childminder using dots to help writing


 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I have a child in my Nursery class who is also looked after by a Childminder. One of the observations that she has shared with me about this child includes a comment about the child being keen to write by writing over the dots.

In our setting we prefer to either provide a model for the children to copy or use a light coloured pen for the children to write over the top of if they need this.

What would you do? I don't want to tell her how to do her job...

Thanks

Green Hippo x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm like you, we don't use dots - in fact I have banned staff from using them....... This is because of looking into mark making and also advice on courses and from the EYA. Basically we don't use them because with dots children don't actually know the shape of the letter - for example an e in dots doesn't necessarily look like an e unless you maybe draw it on a huge scale so there isn't a lot of guidance for the child and they could just go up and down etc joining the dots so we use a feint coloured pencil which to do the whole letter then the children go over it - although to be honest we mostly write the name/word on a piece of paper and they try to copy it instead :)

 

Sorry edited to say this was established working with the local reception Teachers too who don't use dots either. That's not to say it's the right way but it works for us :)

Edited by mrsbat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We stopped using dots as we have had a number of children in the past who have either started to write using dots (and have been difficult to convince that this is not the way to write!) or have joined in dot by dot - i.e. making small marks to join 2 dots at a time then lifting their pen. We find that with using the light coloured pen it encourages them to keep their pen on the paper and follow the 'flow' of the letter. We usually write this in front of them so they can see how we've formed the letter - this they can't really see when making dot letters.

Like you mrsbat we do tend to write above and encourage children to write underneath but some children need the light coloured pen for a little bit of extra confidence.

Should I say anything or just leave it unless the child is showing signs of dot writing?

Thanks for your prompt replies,

Green Hippo x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We stopped using dots as we have had a number of children in the past who have either started to write using dots (and have been difficult to convince that this is not the way to write!) or have joined in dot by dot - i.e. making small marks to join 2 dots at a time then lifting their pen. We find that with using the light coloured pen it encourages them to keep their pen on the paper and follow the 'flow' of the letter. We usually write this in front of them so they can see how we've formed the letter - this they can't really see when making dot letters.

Like you mrsbat we do tend to write above and encourage children to write underneath but some children need the light coloured pen for a little bit of extra confidence.

Should I say anything or just leave it unless the child is showing signs of dot writing?

Thanks for your prompt replies,

Green Hippo x

I guess it depends on how well you know the child minder but I personally would maybe do an observation and if the child can form letters by going over the the written ones or copying ones big it up saying they no longer need dots and can now form them free hand? I used to be a child minder so I know all the local ones quite well so I would probably just come out with it and say have you tried doing the whole letter or getting the child to copy from another letter as they seem to be able to do it really well, I would probably in a round about way drop in the fact that since getting advice we don't do dots any more - if the child minder is interested I would guess they would then ask why not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest light coloured pens or dots to trace = the same outcome ...so it's just a different method. I wouldn't worry too much!

cx

I agree with greenhippo and mrsbat - as pens and dots might not equal the same outcome if children are 'joining the dots' and see the graphemes as a 'dotty' shape!

x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Treat the childminder as a professional and have a 'high level' conversation about the observation...ask her opinion and question her as to the theory of why she does it this way...you may find she is very knowledgeable! Or you may be able to suggest another method that she has not thought of. It is confusing for children to have lots of different methods (does this method work for the little girl?) If it works then go with it for her...you don't need to change it for everyone. Is this a case of teach me the way that i learn ????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with greenhippo and mrsbat - as pens and dots might not equal the same outcome if children are 'joining the dots' and see the graphemes as a 'dotty' shape!

x

Yes, not well phrased by me - I meant that for me it equalled the same outcome of it not being independent writing by the child, rather it is akin to tracing (correctly or incorrectly as even over a feint line can be done wrongly). However either strategy gets used and if they work for some then they work!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Catma, do you think that we shouldn't use trace-writing at all? Sometimes I find this is the only way to get a child to attempt to write a letter (when we know that this is child's next step and have tried other things) as is the case with the child in question. I find this can be a particular problem with children who have older siblings and have a good awareness of what writing should look like!

Love to know what you think and if there is a better way?

Green Hippo x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have rarely ever used either method, like suer and lucie. I dont find it really helps with letter formation as you need to sit with them one to one to show them exactly where the letter goes, where it starts etc.

I also find it restricts the size that is 'natural' for them. When children first start forming letters they can write quite big, and making them write too small for their natural style can make it harder for them.

I also find it discourages children from having a go at their own marks and writing, as they haven't got something to work from, and they come to rely on this.

 

I always used lots of lots of arm movements (eg write dance) and then lots and lots of opportunities to make marks on different surfaces and in different media, and loads of encouragement for their own efforts. Over time you really could see how the dots, lines and squiggles, turn into random letters which turn into some correct letters etc. The flow of the progression is clear to see, and I found children could see that in their own writing too, and could be proud of their achievements.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I feel I need to defend myself a bit here:

I don't use the light coloured pen as general practise - we provide lots of opportunities for children to mark-make on many different surfaces, in different situations, for different purposes, with many different materials on both a large and small scale. We also do finger gym, write dance, have a fine-motor table and provide other activities that encourage and develop large and fine motor skills. We very much encourage and praise ALL attempts at independent mark-making. The use of the light coloured pen is very much used for those children who are showing real reluctance/nervousness in independent writing - I have 2 children this year who are higher ability - they will be ready to start phase 2 phonics shortly, they have an excellent awareness of writing and letters and how letters are formed and are (at times) reluctant to have a go - with their own ideas (not teacher-led). We support children individually whenever possible but sometimes use the light coloured pen to give them a little confidence then will always encourage an independent try. This is not used as a way of starting children to write, just a 'tool in the box' to get children to the next stage.

I'm not sure what to do now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I discourage dots, except sometimes if I am trying to reinforce a letter to a child where it begins and ends, so a dot at begining and end of a stroke, that has been useful and we do it together and we do it in a controlled way with lots of encouragement, generally speaking it will be a letter from their name which we have noticed they are forming incorrectly.

 

i suspect many of us have seen parents using dots for children to write over in birthday/christmas cards etc., the dots are so scruffily formed sometimes its a wonder the child ever feels able to complete them. This cophort of parents, let us say in their late twenties and early 30's may well have grown up with the dots system which was widely used years ago, they also see it in magazines designed for children - they are only doing what they think is right.

 

Talk to this childminder and explain, just like Finleysmaid has suggested, I'm sure you will reach an excellent compromise between you, this child does not need to be confused, one system which suits them is better overall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The use of the light coloured pen is very much used for those children who are showing real reluctance/nervousness in independent writing - I have 2 children this year who are higher ability - they will be ready to start phase 2 phonics shortly, they have an excellent awareness of writing and letters and how letters are formed and are (at times) reluctant to have a go - with their own ideas (not teacher-led). We support children individually whenever possible but sometimes use the light coloured pen to give them a little confidence then will always encourage an independent try. This is not used as a way of starting children to write, just a 'tool in the box' to get children to the next stage.

Yup! I have done this in the past for individuals - as you say some just wouldn't ever write! It is, as you say also one of many tools. Everyone will have their own opinion but it is neither right nor wrong, just something you can do for children. If it supports them and they develop confidence through it then I wouldn't worry!!

It is though more about the mechanics of letter formation rather than writing so does need support to ensure children are forming the letters in the right way!

Cx

Edited by catma
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)