My goal for Storyteller’s Kindergarten year for handwriting was to work on lowercase letters. Both of the preschools she attended emphasized recognizing and writing uppercase letters. Neither paid much attention to lowercase. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but now it just really doesn’t make sense to me. Lowercase letters are far more important for learning to read and write.
Storyteller already knew how to write all of her uppercase letters when we started kindergarten. As she learned to write her lowercase letters, I was able to find words that she could write which made handwriting practice more interesting for both of us. We worked our way through the alphabet in order and got to the end early in the spring. By then, she was quite bored with writing words. She’d written all the months of the year, days of the week, colors, number words, people’s names and of course princess names. It was time for something new.
I didn’t want to start the next level of our handwriting program yet but I thought she still needed some type of regular handwriting practice. We had some practice workbooks that were given to us so I started to go through them. She became bored very quickly even though they were filled with cartoon characters. She actually said that they were for little kids. She was beyond that. So, what’s next?
It started with her wanting to write a letter to one of her Grandmas. She told me what she wanted to write and I wrote it out. She copied it onto her own paper. She wanted to include some pictures with it so we made a trip to the post office to mail the big envelope. She’s written letters to a few friends too. She has a long list of people who need letters so if we know you in real life then you may just get a letter from her. I’m sure she would enjoy getting letters back but I’m not sure she’s up for a pen pal type experience. At her age, I can’t guarantee that she’ll be able to reply to a bunch of letters in a timely manner.
We’ve also started finding sentences in books for her to copy. I tried to take sentences from books that she is reading but she would rather pick from her cartoon character type books. She’s especially excited when the sentence includes a princess name. We mix it up throughout the week and try to alternate between letters and copying from books.
This is often referred to as copywork. It’s pretty self explanatory. The student copies an example of writing. Usually, the text that is used is from well written literature so that it is also used as a lesson in grammar and perhaps vocabulary. However for now, I think it’s most important to keep Storyteller interested and excited about writing so I’m pretty much letting her decide what to write. It still gives us the opportunity to talk about grammar but in an informal manner.
She also has nature study and science journal type activities that can involve writing. Up until recently, I did all of writing but now I’m starting to encourage her to do some of it. It often includes a lot more writing than she is used to so it has helped to count that as handwriting practice. Having her write in one of her journals and do a separate handwriting exercise in the same day is a lot of writing for this age.
One night while I was making dinner, she was running around the house looking in books and choosing words to copy on her own. She started out writing in all uppercase letters. I was a little annoyed to see that at first. It’s been such a long process to get her out of the habit of only writing uppercase letters. I kept my mouth shut because she was so excited to write the words and she was doing it as an activity she choose on her own. As the night went on, she slowly transitioned to writing lowercase letters without any input from me. These new handwriting exercises have certainly renewed her energy and enjoyment of writing.