Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Name Writing Practice

One goal that I have for my students is that they would be able to correctly write their name prior to Kindergarten.  Really, the only way they are able to reach this goal is to practice.  In our setting, the children have many opportunities to write their name as they write it on the back of all their work.  However, I do like a name practice sheet.  That way I can be sure to work with each one daily in CORRECTLY forming their letters.  Habits, good or bad, are hard to break...so let's make good habits! 

Our school utilizes The Handwriting Without Tears program.  Their website is www.hwtears.com.  I familiarized myself with their letter formation charts so that it would be familiar for the children when they enter into Kindergarten.  You can get their letter/number formation charts by clicking the educator tab and classroom downloads.  If you scroll down you will find all formation charts.  It will give you an idea of what to say as your child is forming their letter.  My student's favorite (and in my opinion, the most helpful one, was lower case e.  We say, "baseball, hit the ball, run the bases".  After two times of saying this, a 3 year old was making beautiful lower case e's.  That letter is not easy for them!  This program has a lot of neat products.  Check them out!  Some you can even create for home use with materials you already have at home.  Just use your imagination a little! 

We had taken a break from our Name Practice Sheets because we needed to back up and work more with hands-on letter/name recognition.  Now we are implementing them again, yippee!, and I'm sure we'll see much more progress.  Here is the general format I use.

I create mine in Print Shop.  I'm sure you can create something similar to this in Word or even just handwrite one out.  The hollow ball and stick font I use is from www.handwritingworksheets.com.  Our school teaches this font, but the website also has D'Nealian if you are going that route. My older students who have "mastered" their first name work with first and last name.  My younger students work with only their first name.  Clip art makes it interesting and we also switch out our sheets every once in awhile.  Two purposes for that...1) keeping interest and 2) I can have them practice with pencil, then date it and put it in their files to keep track of progress.  I place the pages in plastic sheet protectors and into a binder.  Children use dry erase markers to practice their name and then wipe it off with paper towel so it's ready for the next day.  I work with the children, hand over hand if necessary, on top portion but the bottom portion is "theirs".  It's their exploration space and I do not correct what they are doing.  Some of my younger students will just scribble and that's okay!  I find that over the course of a few days or a week or two, they begin to make marks that resemble some of the letters in their name.  Once they do, then I encourage them to write those letters on the back of their work and will do hand over hand with the rest of their name.  They get LOTS of practice with name writing and I see lots of progress! 

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