Advanced search

learning to write

(29 Posts)
youbethemummylion Thu 02-Jun-11 16:59:49

My son is in nurseryclass and a few months ago was given 'homework' of learning to write his name. We were given a letter explaining to do about 3mins practice each day he picked it up quite quickly and could write his name perfectly (he has neater handwriting than OH!) after a few weeks.

We keep being told to keep up the practice but we have eased off from everyday as it seems a bit much as he can already do it so we have been doing a page of his shop bought workbook on days we don't do writing.

Anyway he has started writing his name incorrectly on purpose, acting silly and sometimes crying when I even mention writing (on the otherhand he asks to do more workbook pages) OH thinks this is because he is bored of only writing his first name over and over and over again. Does anyone know of some other words he should be learning, I thought about his surname but it is VERY long!

skybluepearl Thu 02-Jun-11 17:17:08

your OH is right. he could always practice some CVC words. cat, dog, bin etc ..

crazygracieuk Thu 02-Jun-11 18:22:44

My ds is in Reception so is a "new" writer. His first words to write were his name, name of siblings, mum, dad, to, from and numbers.

mrz Thu 02-Jun-11 18:37:22

Is the nursery attached to the school he will attend? I ask because writing styles can vary greatly and it can create difficulties. I'm quite surprised that nurseries are doing this.

youbethemummylion Thu 02-Jun-11 18:46:04

yes the nursery is attached to the school. Thanks for the advise I will try him out with a new word tomorrow and see if that helps I don't want to be pushing him too hard but just redoing his name over and over seems to be counter productive as he was very keen at the start but now starting to hate writing!

mrz Thu 02-Jun-11 18:48:37

Can he form all his letters correctly?
by that I mean starting in the correct place moving his pencil in the right direction in a continuous movement ending in the correct place

If not I would concentrate on letters rather than words

Avantia Thu 02-Jun-11 18:55:10

Leave it , he is not interested and children at his age should be learning through play .

If you want to encourage ' mark making' just get him some interesting pens and pencils to use , different coloured paper, clip board and pencil .

If he shows an interest in maing shapes of letters then by all means encourage it but it should not be 'forced; as it appears the nursery has done as it had obviously back fired .

mrz Thu 02-Jun-11 19:35:16

I agree with Avantia it isn't appropriate "homework" not that I think nursery children should have "homework" hmm

jade80 Thu 02-Jun-11 19:43:43

Depends what you mean by 'homework' mrz. We do optional homework that fits in with the interest topics we are doing e.g. if we're looking at jobs people do, the 'homework' is to talk to mum and dad about their jobs. If we're looking at houses/homes it might be finding out how many stairs you have at home. They also have a choice of books and games to take home if they want to. It all helps with 'partnership with parents'.

lljkk Thu 02-Jun-11 20:09:35

You can write preschool writing workbooks in places like WH Smith, dotted lines they copy over & can wipe clean. DC have all liked those.

lljkk Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:15

They just work on fine motor skills, that's the main thing at preschool age.

mrz Thu 02-Jun-11 20:12:17

But there are much better and cheaper ways of developing fine motor skills and handwriting

lljkk Thu 02-Jun-11 20:51:52

Well, I've used the same wipe-clean book for 3 DC so far, and probably bought it using a gift voucher, so has been good value for us, lol.
What do you suggest to develop fine motor skills, mrz?

mrz Thu 02-Jun-11 20:58:41

Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:

Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow (mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt "monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the "Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes, small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios, macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.

Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal, cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the outlines

Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles

Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop". Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt, sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory awareness in the hands.

Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

Activities To Develop Handwriting Skills
There are significant prerequisites for printing skills that begin in infancy and continue to emerge through the preschool years. The following activities support and promote fine motor and visual motor development:
Body Stability
The joints of the body need to be stable before the hands can be free to focus on specific skilled fine motor tasks.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, and wall push-ups.
Toys: Orbiter, silly putty, and monkey bars on the playground.

Fine Motor Skills
When a certain amount of body stability has developed, the hands and fingers begin to work on movements of dexterity and isolation as well as different kinds of grasps. Children will develop fine motor skills best when they work on a VERTICAL or near vertical surface as much as possible. In particular, the wrist must be in extension. (Bent back in the direction of the hand)
Attach a large piece of drawing paper to the wall. Have the child use a large marker and try the following exercises to develop visual motor skills:Make an outline of a one at a time. Have the child trace over your line from left to right, or from top to bottom. Trace each figure at least 10 times . Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times.
Play connect the dots. Again make sure the child's strokes connect dots fromleft to right, and from top to bottom.
Trace around stencils - the non-dominant hand should hold the stencil flat and stable against the paper, while the dominant hand pushes the pencil firmly against the edge of the stencil. The stencil must be held firmly.
Attach a large piece of felt to the wall, or use a felt board. The child can use felt shapes to make pictures. Magnetic boards can be used the same way.
Have the child work on a chalkboard, using chalk instead of a marker. Do the same kinds of tracing and modeling activities as suggested above.
Paint at an easel. Some of the modeling activities as suggested above can be done at the easel.
Magna Doodle- turn it upside down so that the erasing lever is on the . Experiment making vertical, horizontal, and parallel lines.

Ocular Motor Control
This refers to the ability of the eyes to work together to follow and hold an object in the line of vision as needed.
Use a flashlight against the ceiling. Have the child lie on his/her back or tummy and visually follow the moving light from left to right, to bottom, and diagonally.
Find hidden pictures in books. (There are special books for this.)
Maze activities.

Eye-hand Coordination
This involves accuracy in placement, direction, and spatial awareness.
Throw bean bags/kooshi balls into a hula hoop placed flat on the floor. Gradually increase the distance.
Play throw and catch with a ball . Start with a large ball and work toward a smaller ball. (Kooshi balls are easier to catch than a tennis ball.)
Practice hitting bowling pins with a ball. (You can purchase these games or make your own with pop bottles and a small ball.)
Play "Hit the Balloon" with a medium-sized balloon.

Halogen Thu 02-Jun-11 21:25:19

Would he like to send someone a letter and get one back? My DD is 4.8 and not yet at school and she's been able to write her name for quite a while, as well as some other words like mum and dad and other stuff she's interested in (cat, tiger, flower, bicycle - we played at writing captions for pictures she'd drawn). The thing that has enthused her most about writing is to write a short letter along the lines of Dear Grandma, would you like to come and see me next week, love X. Obv when a visit is planned anyway. Or sending aunts and uncles a picture with a note saying this is a picture for you. That kind of thing. They are all primed to write back and happily don't mind, and my daughter finds it absolutely riveting to see if there's a letter for her in the morning when she knows she has sent one and might expect a response.

It's great practice for forming letters and also I think it's good to encourage the idea that writing is all about communication. Even a picture signed with his name would be a start if you have someone to send it to who might send a letter back. Also, most grandparents would probably be delighted to get something like this in the post so two birds with one stone!

Avantia Thu 02-Jun-11 21:31:38

All well and good if the child wants to do it - and rightly ity should be encoraged but the Ops DS doesn't want to do it so he should not be 'forced' or made to so something he doesn't enjoy .

Get him to play ! Why the rush with getting him to write !if he doesn't want to . School will do all this for you and boys will be behing girls in writing initally because of the way their brains are connected .

I really dont see why we need to push children into writiing before they need to .

Halogen Thu 02-Jun-11 21:36:08

Oh yes, I wouldn't suggest it if the child was reluctant. I just meant that the child of the OP seemed enthusiastic at first but learnt to write his name quickly and is now bored of writing it. Writing with a result would surely be a lot more fun and might make him enjoy it again? And making writing into a fun game seems like a much better thing to do than writing the same dreary word (or even words) over and over again, if you are hopeful that your child will enjoy learning to write.

Avantia Thu 02-Jun-11 21:37:00

If you must want him to write then involve it in role play - he could be a policeman taking notes , a doctor , get him to write a shopping list when you play shop with him. Instead of getting him to do a work book - play with him ! Make it fun - make him want to write because he sees it as fun not a chore !

mrz Fri 03-Jun-11 09:20:58

I don't know how old the OPs son is but this is a NURSERY child!!!

ScrotalPantomime Fri 03-Jun-11 09:30:06

Mrz I always love and appreciate your lists!

DD (4 this month) has started writing and decoded - with help - a few CVC words, but that was entirely her choice. I would be seriously reconsidering a nursery that set homework for such young children. I am generally a fan of HW for older DCs if it's decent, but not at that age. Thankfully our nursery is very laid back and is very much child led.

They have started doing letter of the week for the first time this year, and that's going well - they encourage DCs to bring in an object beginning with the sound for show and tell, but it is entirely optional, so those who aren't ready don't suffer.

mrz Fri 03-Jun-11 09:36:41

I think that's the point some children might be interested in writing (many won't be either interested or physically able) and that's fine ... encourage and support but go with the child's agenda not an adults. There are years and years of school ahead so let little children be little children. Writing homework isn't appropriate

ScrotalPantomime Fri 03-Jun-11 12:25:35

I hear so often about teachers being pressurised by eager parents to set HW even for little ones - they are damned if they do and damned if they don't!

I don't understand why some parents bug the teacher to set HW though. If they want their DCs to have extra practise, surely at that age it's not difficult to come up with something themselves for the child to do, even if it's just buying a cheap workbook, or you can come up with shopping lists etc.

I often wonder if it's because they need the excuse of "the teacher says you have to do it" - or otherwise the child won't do it? Or am I just a rotten cynic hmm

Rosebud05 Fri 03-Jun-11 12:39:51

dd (4.2) is interested in writing. She has an avante guarde approach to it and forms letters/numbers however is easiest, switches between upper and lower case and sometimes swops letters if the one she wants is too difficult.

I'm aware of the importance of forming letters correctly and tried to show her, which really pissed her off. She does however love writing letters to people and does it lots. I've taken the approach of not annoying her by trying to correct her (though will write her a letter or word to copy if she asks) and am going to outsource the forming letters properly to the school. Along with annoying phonic songs. Does this sounds about right?

youbethemummylion Fri 03-Jun-11 15:59:21

thanks for that list mrz ill try out some of those things they sound like things he will enjoy.

DS is 4 he loved learning to write his name which is the only reason we are keen to continue with other words as it seems it was the repetative nature rather than the writing that is bothering him. If it turns out it is writing in general that he doesnt want to do I will back off completely even if it is 'homework' I am not going to continue with something that he is not enjoying at this age.

Avantia I don't get him to do his work book he asks to do it I have to limit it to a few pages or he would keep doing it for hours! Of course I play with him, he has a very active imagination hence youbethemummylion, sometimes I get to be a superhero or a worm as well!

mrz Fri 03-Jun-11 16:03:19

Get him to air write using a light sabre grin

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: