I have found that some of my students have got into bad habits when forming their letters. They’ve created their own way of printing for speed and keeping up with classroom work. This has its challenges because I’m not only trying to break a habit but also trying to get as much practise as possible to change the automaticity of letter formation already established. I’ve made a tracing grid for my students to follow the arrows from the starting points. They use their fingertips and I model with my fingertip as I verbalize the direction I’m tracing.
In the Alphabet Program I give suggested language for the formation of each letter to accompany the printing page. An example for the letter M and m is, “Put your pencil on the starting point, go straight down to the line. Lift up your pencil and put it back on the starting point, go diagonally down to the printed line, diagonally back up level with the starting point, and then straight down to the printed line to make the M. Put your pencil on the starting point, go straight down to the printed line, back up and over, straight down to the printed line, back up and over, straight down to the printed line to make the m.”
I use this language as we repeatedly trace the letter with our fingertips to create a new habit.
We then transfer the same language to a pencil on the guided paper. We slowly and carefully go through the steps to print each letter. I focus on pencil grip, placement of letters on the line, and direction for printing each letter. I model first and then my students transfer their repeated practise on the guide with their fingertips to the paper with their pencil.
I don’t go through every letter with my older students, just the letters needing correction.
With my younger students I verbalize how to form each letter with repeated practise. We use sand in a box, rice in a tray, paint in a ziploc bag, follow the direction on playdough or clay letters we’ve created. We move from the big representation down to the smaller examples on the writing guide. We follow the arrows to continue the multisensory example. They are seeing me model the action, they are hearing the directions, they are saying the directions, and they are creating the letters.
Tutoring Activity FreeBee Pages
I have included a writing direction guide and some sky, grass, ground paper for you to use in your own practice. I have included two darker lines on the paper to support other writing programs your students may be using in their classrooms. Enjoy!