Monday, 11 April 2016

School Readiness | Writing Your Name

I registered my daughter for junior kindergarten last week and almost cried in the school office.  Anyone else with me?!  As I was filling out the questionnaire, I started to panic about all the things I wanted to do to prep her for school, and this post series was born.  Follow along with us as we explore different activities that will help your little one get ready for kindergarten.

Now a little disclaimer...none of these things are actually requirements to get into kindergarten and most kids will pick up these skills throughout the year, so if you don't do any of these things before the school year, please don't feel guilty.  On the flipside, it will surely help the teacher if your child can open/close their own snack containers or write their name so they can label their art projects on their own!

For today's post, we'll focus on learning to write the letters of the alphabet, with a special concentration on your child's name.  We'll be providing printables at the end of the post and suggest printing them out and putting them in page protectors in a binder.  That way, you can pull out the pages you want and have your child complete the activities using a dry erase marker.  You can use them again and again to torture...I mean teach your child.
Scroll down to the end to see all the printables we designed!
Keep in mind that writing doesn't happen overnight.  I've summarized the steps we went through below, so just start wherever is appropriate for your child.  If they're already able to hold a marker and draw straight lines, try starting the name tracing, and so on.

Steps to Teach Writing Your Name
  1. Start with pre-writing activities (see the list below) if you haven't already.
  2. Download and print out the sheets (start with lines practice, then move onto the alphabet and name).  The images for the downloads are at the bottom of the post.  Just click on the one you want and you can download the pdf!
  3. For the name, I typed it out once and had my daughter trace it at first (Font: Coming Soon, font size: 200).
  4. Next, have your child use the name as a guide to copy it.
  5. Finally, have your child practice writing their name over and over on a blank sheet!
  6. Erasing the sheet was just as much fun for her as the writing!  For more writing practice, have your child erase the lines by tracing over them with a q-tip.
Tip!  Slip the printables into pocket protectors and collect them in a binder.  Use the sheets with a dry erase marker so you can use them over and over again!

Pre-writing Activities (Things you can do before writing)
  • strengthen hand and forearm muscles through activities like molding play dough, stringing beads, etc. (Check out this site and this one for other ideas!)
  • learn the names of the letters using the alphabet song
  • practice letter sounds (try using these examples)
  • point out different letters in books, signs, etc.
  • compare letters to different shapes (ex. a "p" is a ball on a stick, an "s" looks like a snake, etc.) 
Other Activities to Help your Child Write Their Name
  • Sing the letters of their name to a familiar tune (I did Kiyomi's name to the tune of Bingo, but don't get me started about how she sings it, "K-Y-Y - O-M-I", or about how many times I've tried to correct her!)
  • Draw letters in the air with a stick or finger
  • Use fingers to draw the letters in different materials/textures like sand, salt, rice, on sand paper, on a squishy bag (ziploc filled with glue or paint) etc. 
  • Use a dry erase marker or window writer to practice writing letters on the window, mirror, or even the fridge!  (Try it out first to make sure it will come off!)
  •  Drive toy cars over letters to trace them
We started with writing names, and then moved onto the other letters of the alphabet.  You could do all the letters first, then the name, but I found that my daughter was more invested in writing the letters in her name (oh those egocentric children of ours).

Let us know how your name-writing goes!  And be sure to share other ideas you might have to help kids learn to print their names!

This printable includes both horizontal (the image above) and vertical line practice (below)

This printable includes diagonal line practice includes both the page above and below.

Curved line practice includes the page above and below.

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