Learning to write - can I type dotted letters for dd on my computer?

(53 Posts)
MrsFogi Mon 12-Jul-10 22:55:45

I'd like to be able to type dotted letters (eg of dd's name) on my computer and then print them out? Is this possible? If so - how?

booyhoo Mon 12-Jul-10 22:58:05

i dont know if it is possible. couldn't you just do it with a felt tip and a ruler on a piece of paper?

LimaCharlie Mon 12-Jul-10 23:01:12

I think dafont.com have a free font you can download for this purpose

aegeansky Mon 12-Jul-10 23:04:34

I wouldn't mess with this. The school will teach letter formation. You could quite innocently complicate things.

MixedNutPlate Mon 12-Jul-10 23:08:42
MixedNutPlate Mon 12-Jul-10 23:10:13

you can also get write on wipe off books

Snorbs Mon 12-Jul-10 23:14:40

Could you just print out her name using a standard font but with the colour set to a very pale grey?

booyhoo Mon 12-Jul-10 23:23:37

ds starts primary in sept and in the school induction booklet they strongly advised parents not to teach their children to write as they would like all children to learn the way they teach them.

DanJARMouse Mon 12-Jul-10 23:28:57

We are actually encouraged to help our children with their letter formation, and the second link Mixed gave is ideal.

I have saved it for my DD2 to have fun with over the summer.

Butterpie Mon 12-Jul-10 23:37:21

booyhoo- THAT is one of the main reasons ours won't be going to school. I hate this idea that we are meant to hold them back so they can learn as part of a massive group, and they will only get individual attention if they don't conform- ie it will be seen as a problem.

All that you need to do is a small amount of research and you can find the best ways to teach it anyway.

booyhoo Mon 12-Jul-10 23:43:22

that is a very good point butterpie. i have held off on teaching ds as i was worried i would create a problem for him.

Schools these days ask you NOT to teach your children to write?! shock

chubbymummy Tue 13-Jul-10 00:23:08

Wanting to help your child to learn to write is fantastic but please don't get her to write over dotted letters. If children start to do this they tend to become reliant on it. You can buy lots of booklets (often in a multi pack with number and pre-reading booklets) for developing pre-writing skills. Collins and Usborne are the one's I'd recommend. You need to model the letter formation so that your daughter can see how to form each letter correctly not just make it look right, this will get her into good habits ready for joining up writing later on. She should never be encouraged to copy write either (other than her own name and individual letters when she is very first learning to form them correctly) as this causes HUGE problems later on when children become reluctant to write anything by themselves. At this age spelling is not important, it's all about thinking of the sounds you can hear in words and recording them. She needs to be familiar with all the letter sounds (not letter names) before you move her onto writing letters and I'd suggest you display a good quality letter line at eye level so that she can use it to remind her what the individual letters look like. sparklebox.co.uk has lots of choice and is free. Most of all writing needs to be made fun, try writing with a stick in sand/mud, on the bathroom tiles with bath pens and forming letters in shaving foam squirted onto a tray.

ChateauRouge Tue 13-Jul-10 00:27:30

Please do not use sparklebox - it is owned by a convicted paedophile, and he makes money from it!

aegeansky Tue 13-Jul-10 07:54:04

Butterpie, sorry, this just isn't true. The 'best' way is the way that the school is going to teach them, otherwise confusion arises.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 08:08:02

yes, please don't use sparklebox! angry

very good ideas from chubbymummy though. you can get workbooks outrageously cheap in shops like The Works.

how old is your DD, OP?

it's a good idea to do lots of patterns too - zigzags, circles, wavy lines, erm, the one that looks like the top of a castle (?) etc... get her doing mazes too. fine motor skills etc.

FFS though. My DD wants to learn to write (just turned 3) I'm not going to make her wait 18 months for the privilege. especially seeing how loads of kids come out of school with awful handwriting anyway!

Callisto Tue 13-Jul-10 08:21:41

Well I taught my DD her letters in just this way. She went through a phase between 3yo and 4yo were she would 'write' her name, various animal and dinosaur names and short sentences. At 5yo her writing is extremely clear - clearer than most of the other children in her reception class. I'm sure the school would have been horrified by my teaching techniques but, quite frankly, I don't care because I am the best teacher of my daughter, certainly at this stage of her education.

The idea that school is the only possible way that a child can learn to read and write is part of the reason schools are so crap and bad teachers are allowed to work for so long. Parents seem to have relinquished all responsibility for teaching their children anything at all as they have been brainwashed into thinking it is all somebody else's responsibility. Makes me bloody angry.

So, MrsFogi, go for it. It will be fun for you and your daughter. Ignore anyone who tells you not to, they are obviously far too institutionalised.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 08:22:52

what callisto said.

Butterpie Tue 13-Jul-10 08:57:04

What Callisto said, with the added thing that, actually, since mine aren't going to school anyway, who cares what schools teach? I will be using the methods that suit my children and their own learning styles. I would still be doing that if they were going to school- I don't see school as the primary learning environment, especially not at this age.

differentnameforthis Tue 13-Jul-10 09:02:19

I used to let my dd do it over dots, chubbymummy & she never became reliant on it.

Agree with callisto, too many parents happy to leave it all to the teachers & not give them any ground work to start with.

A little encouragement does no harm

And another vote not to use sparklebox!

loopyloops Tue 13-Jul-10 09:07:57

Why don't you contact the school that DC will be attending and ask them for the font / a copy of an alphabet written out that they might use? Surely then the children won't get confused?
I don't think that holding them back is a good idea at all. I understand the reasons for this (I am a teacher), but I really don't think that stalling a child who wants to learn is in any way productive. They might not be this enthusiastic forever.

Butterpie Tue 13-Jul-10 09:09:39

I have printed the "Very First Reading" words off the Usborne site and I will be laminating them for DD to write over with a drywipe pen (I added things her her name and so on as well). I'm hoping we can use them for reading and making sentences and so on.

(You don't have to buy the books to be able to print off the words and the puzzle sheets, btw)

loopyloops Tue 13-Jul-10 10:15:25

butterpie another nice thing to do if you have a laminator is to lam either letters or words and use adhesive velcro for your child to make words / sentences.
I have done this before by making a little book which models the words (I did time using a clock then had a section at the back for the children to stick the correct phrases at the right part of the clock).
Kids live velcro!

mycarscallednev Tue 13-Jul-10 11:31:24

Hi, I have a son with a fine motor disability, but his writing skills are being developed by an OT using sand,shaving foam on a tray and using chalk on a chalk board as it has more reistance and doesn't 'run away' from the hand. I think these are pretty useful skills if you have a child with a disability or one who is just learning. There is a useful site called 'Handwriting Without Tears' that gives stratagies for letter formation that is very good too.
We all want to give our children the best chance and capture the enthusiasm whenever that shows, just go at your childs pace and make it fun, once they think they are either doing something 'wrong' or 'having to do lessons', and they'd rather be digging in the sand, you've lost them! We all know our own children better than anyone else and that includes schools and teachers and whether our child is able or has a disability.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 16:34:52

I was also wondering, what stage should a just-turned-3yo be at, writing wise? DD's been focused on other skills lately so we've not done much fine-motor stuff, but she really wants to write now. What should she be able to do ATM?

SaliMali1 Tue 13-Jul-10 16:51:35

Writing Without Pencils from scolastic is a good book to look at to encourage writing ready for school.

aegeansky Tue 13-Jul-10 16:52:01

Butterpie, I'm sure you don't mean it that way, smile but your posts are bordering on self-righteous. Just because you have decided to take your child out of school and are in a position to do that doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try to see the argument from the other side - what it's like if DC is in mainstream education.

And that, plainly stated, is that it probably a royal pain for schools to have to untangle the mess created by parents teaching their children phonics and handwriting systems of their own in nursery or reception. The problems may not emerge till later, but even the familiar alphabet song is a help rather than a hindrance, as the letter names don't correspond to phonemes. And letter formation is very specific, for example, in the widely-used read write inc. system developed by Ruth Miskin. This is taught from years R to 2.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 17:00:15

if a child's handwriting is legible, does it really matter if it's not exactly like the prescribed method? (genuine question)

after all plenty of adults have perfectly legible writing but they don't all do it the same way?

mrz Tue 13-Jul-10 17:17:51

I would ask parents not to teach children to write their name using all capitals (I know that is the way they are taught in the US) as it makes it really difficult for them to learn to write especially if the school uses a cursive style or begins joining in reception.

I dislike writing over dots as it encourages bad habits (it's tracing not writing) much better to sit down and show your child how to form letters properly

mrz Tue 13-Jul-10 17:20:37

MathsMadMummy I would expect some three year olds to be making straight and curved marks writing for most comes much later when they have developed the physical skills needed to control a pen or pencil.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 17:28:35

oh god mrz. on 'threads I'm on' all it showed of your post was 'I would ask parents not to teach children to write their name' and I was shock

thanks she's making various marks, so it seems she's doing ok. she loves (and is very good at) following dotted lines (wavy, zigzag etc) and mazes though, should she not be doing this? confused I thought it'd be a good way of getting her better at controlling where the pen goes. or does it not matter until it comes to writing actual letters?

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 17:50:08

I personally hate workbooks.Most are dreadful quality,the wrong font and sooooo dry I'm amazed they don't put most kids off for life.

Obviously you teaching her formation would be better but make sure you are teaching them exactly right as she'll have to relearn later for joins.

I personally don't have a problem with dotty writing if it isn't the only method. Some children need a lot of practise with handwriting and I think dotty writing can help as mundane as it is continuously going over a letter you've been taught how to form correctly can help.

My ds had dreadful handwriting,could form them all beautifully but his handwriting was very untidy.The continual repetition did help him.Putting a black dot where the correct places are to start is good. I bought the font his school uses for £5 and it helped enormously,I did do proper formation sessions with him too though. The dots were only to reinforce.

That link you liked didn't look like the correct font most schools use to me,don't know if there was a choice.

I don't know how old your dd is and paint,chalk,sand are fantastic but for older children that have learnt the correct formation I do think there is a place for boring old repetitive hand writing practise. YOu get in a rhythm and the letters become 2nd nature.

mrz Tue 13-Jul-10 19:47:06

Get her to clean the windows and sweep up outside much more effective use of time for learning movements for forming letters than tracing over dotted lines ...seriously!

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 20:07:04



we recently started painting our pavements with water and a big brush. she's getting good at it

will it do her any harm though, to be doing the dotty line thing? she really likes it - absolutely anything dotted-line-like she draws on...

mrz Tue 13-Jul-10 20:10:12

no it won't do any harm smile

Doodlez Tue 13-Jul-10 20:14:37
aegeansky Tue 13-Jul-10 20:20:25

MathsMadMummy, don't worry about fine motor skills too much yet. Overall strength and muscle tone is good as children eventually have to sit to write. So are climbing frames, throwing, gripping and making big, expressive movements in sand or mud with a stick, sweeping, painting on an easel or big sheets of paper, and so on.

It's too early to worry about holding a pencil yet. Just give her a really strong foundation and she'll be ready for writing when she hits reception.

Fizzylemonade Tue 13-Jul-10 21:29:36

Our preschool recommended playdoh for strengthening their fingers. They are also encouraged to draw curves, straight lines and zig zags to enable them to form letters later on.

We have been given sheets telling us how to form letters properly as many of the children can write their names and their friend's names.

So as not to get complacent with just being able to write their name, they have to form the letters properly. eg my son has an "r" in his name which he draws from the bottom up and just curves it over. He needs to learn to write it correctly.

Bingtata Tue 13-Jul-10 21:46:14

Am I allowed to say that I don't really buy into the whole learning the letter sounds rather than the letters?

I say that because I can read fluently and very quickly and yet I struggle to work out all the sounds and rules of phonics when DD asks. So how did I learn?! I am ready to be educated here....

WomblesAbound Tue 13-Jul-10 21:54:44

JarmanDotted is a dotty font (suprisingly enough grin). Jarman is the standard un dotty font. They are not great, but are free to download.

Any form of pattern making is great to practise, as that helps hand eye coorination so much. Don't forget about colouring in (staying inside the lines) is really quite a tricky skill to master, and fun to practise.

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 22:23:47

I agree with the hand eye co-ordination thing,it does have a place which is one I'm a little surprised at the sniffy attitude to tracing.

Colouring,following/continuing patterns,tracing etc are good at helping children gain control when putting pencil to paper.

Concentrating on letter formation is obviously the most useful but young children can only take so much in short bursts. Said pencil control activities are good at helping children gain control and practise using a pencil in a fairly undemanding way.

They have their place in the same way as other fine motor and gross motor activities.

Playdough,Lego,forming letters in sand/shaving foam,picking raisins out of small containers will all get the right muscles moving but don't underestimate the value in a bit of tracing,colouring and pattern copying too.

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 22:31:00

The one I've got is CCW Precursive Dotted

kennythekangaroo Tue 13-Jul-10 22:33:00

You could just write in a yellow felt tip for her to trace over.

Try to put a dot and a line/arrow to show where the pencil should start and in what direction.

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 22:58:30

On the website you can pick either with or without arrows which I wish I'd spotted as the arrows are useful as a memory prompt.

It's good to do the yellow writing in front of them sometimes so they get to see you write. Mine used to do 'magic writing' for each other hmm

Another nice tracing activity is those pens that change colour. Mine used to love going over the letters I'd done in one colour with the magic white pen,very satisfying. Even dtwin1 (my left handed reluctant writer) loved doing that. They also used to love going off after a bit of tracing with those pens to do their own 'creative writing' in glorious patterned technicolour.

You can get metallic,smelly,glitter pens all good for getting a bit of enthusiasm for going over the dotty font.

The dotty font is a good addition as it's a real time saver if like me you had a 4,4 and 3 year old wink

Leaving paper,notebooks and a variety of writing tools around is good for encouraging free scribbling and writing on their own.

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 23:00:19

'are' not 'is'

MilaMae Tue 13-Jul-10 23:10:54

Another good activity with the computer font is you can blow them up to A4 size and get them to either paint over the dots or take an animal/tiny toy car for a walk along the dots. Model the letter in the air first.

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 23:16:47

lots of great ideas on this thread! looking forward to trying more. DD is really into this sort of thing ATM (still in between frantic scooting/running/football etc so plenty of gross motor stuff too wink)

I think nursery has made her want to do all this as she's one of the youngest so she's wanting to be like the older ones. now if only she'd feel that way about potty training we'd be all set...

MathsMadMummy Tue 13-Jul-10 23:19:40

ooh ooh milamae funny you should say that. we did /h/ the other day (after seeing a helicopter!) and I laid out a rope in the shape of the h which we walked along in the same way you'd write it.

we also used her wooden train set to make a really good h - the forked pieces are perfect for this so we'll make other letters too. she drove her trains along it

DD is a very physical learner so far so any more ideas like this, do share!

megapixels Wed 14-Jul-10 00:04:27

My dd starts nursery in September and in the information pack they'd included a sheet with letter formations for right and left-handed children. Never knew left handers form their letters differently.

mrz Wed 14-Jul-10 17:30:39

MilaMae tracing is fine. It's a great fine motor activity that many children enjoy which is great as long as parents don't think it helps their child learn to form letters correctly.

MrsFogi Wed 14-Jul-10 23:52:23

Gosh this must be one of my most successful threads! Thanks for all the replies. Dd really wants to write her name (and her school ask that she be able to do so before she starts) so the reason I want the font is to type her name on pages for her to practise. My writing is barely legible and I don't want to inflict my wonky diy attempt on her!

MathsMadMummy Thu 15-Jul-10 13:48:04

lol mrsfogi - DH has said he will take no part in teaching DD to write because his handwriting is pants.

mrz Thu 15-Jul-10 17:11:47

MrsFogi the best way to teach her to write is to have a set description (patter) of how to form each letter which you both repeat every time she forms the letter

a = round, up, down and flick
t= down, flick and across
m = down, up, over, down, up, over, down and flick

etc

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