Mindy teaches how to write the letters
Mindy wants her students to start writing, so she gives them pencils and handwriting paper.
Her plan is to teach each letter one at a time, in alphabetical order, starting with the capitals and then the lowercase letters. She models the process of writing the capital Aa and has the children fill the entire paper with capital Aa formations. She stresses the importance of staying within the lines. However, one child has trouble grasping the pencil and keeping the paper in place.
Another child can grasp the pencil, but invents his own motion for writing the capital Aa. He soon loses focus in the activity and plays with the pencil. Mindy attributes these difficulties to the fact that her students are “too young” to learn how to write.
The Alternative Lesson Plan
Many children have learned well with this lesson. But for those continuing to struggle, the alternative lesson plan is as follows:
- Be more accommodating of young children’s fine-motor skills.
Some children are still developing their small muscle or fine-motor skills and are not ready for a pencil and handwriting paper. These children need to learn writing with different materials that accommodate their developing fine-motor skills.
- Give the necessary guidance to write the letters correctly.
Although the letters may appear correct on paper, the child may have used an impractical motion to form the letters. These children need more guidance than just merely copying letters.
- Teach handwriting through natural contexts.
Teaching handwriting by drilling is not recommended. Drilling not only can bore a child, it is also inconsistent with the way the letters occur in an actual writing context. For example, it is not recommended to have a child write the letter Aa repeatedly, or even write the letters from Aa to Zz repeatedly. Instead, it is better to teach handwriting through natural contexts.