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Year R- learning to write- helping your child

(11 Posts)
Fayrazzled Tue 13-Oct-09 15:01:01

My son has come home from school today with a couple of worksheets to practice writing this week's letters. It's not really clear from the school's instructions what is expected other than to encourage them to practice at home. But what does that mean? How much practice and how frequently? My just turned 4 year old ended up crying because he finds the pencil difficult to hold and he had trouble forming the letters- even when tracing over the dots. If I'm honest, I don't think he's ready to be doing this, but obviously they're ramping things up at school. I don't want him to be left behind but I also don't want to see him cry and be turned off learning. What are your YR children doing?

6 weeks in and I'm starting to wish I'd deferred him...

ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 15:04:59

id find other ways for him to practise the letters - tracing them in sand, writing in chalk on the patio, painting them, waving the shapes with a flag or streamer.

You could also try a triangular grip if he is struggle with the pencil, or chunkier pencils.

Hulababy Tue 13-Oct-09 15:05:56

Ignore the pencil drawing for now.

Do some "big" finger writing - draw them in the air with his finger. You can hold his hand to guide him to start with too. Get him to draw big letters, little ones, ones on his hands, his leg, your cheek, your back, etc.

Get a tray of sand - use a stick to draw the letters int he sand. Give it a shake and ready to use again.

Use paints and finger paint the letters on paper.

Go outside with chalks and write ont he floor.

Outside again with a paintbrush and water and paint water letters on the floor.

Make the letters out of string or wol, big across the floor.

I do this with a couple of my Y1 childrem who are still finsing writing difficult, and we will move onto pen and pencl writing later.

With regards pen and pencil - does he draw? Does he do mark making on paper?

wheelsonthebus Tue 13-Oct-09 15:09:43

my dd is YR and is tracing her letters and starting to write sentences - but she is a yr older than yrs (just turned 5) and i think boys are generally slower to write than girls. the way to get kids to be able to hold pencils properly and write etc, i was told, was to get them to practice using their motor skills by getting them to use their fingers around very little objects - lego etc etc. girls find it easy cos they are always fiddling with hairclips and little bits and bobs.
if he's not ready, i would just tell the teacher. she won't mind. i saw my dd's teacher today and she said some of the little ones were too little to write

Fayrazzled Tue 13-Oct-09 19:56:31

Thanks everyone for your comments. I think I will do as you suggest and practice the letters with him but in alternative forms: i.e. using sand, chalk, water & a brush etc etc. I'm just really unhappy at the thought of him crying over his homework at 4.1!

Hulababy- he would very rarely choose to write/colour/make marks of his own volition but when he does he will have a go. He can just about write his name (only 3 letters!) but does very it difficult to hold a pencil properly and complains it hurts his hand. I have bought some triangular chunky pencils for him to help with this. He is also acutely aware of the fact he his not as good at 'writing' or colouring as his peers (and unfortunately his best friend, a little girl, is streets ahead of him in this- as I know girls often are).

sarararararah Tue 13-Oct-09 19:57:43

They need well developed gross motor skills before their fine motor skills are up to scratch. In particular their arms, hands and shoulders need to be strong. Lots of swinging in the trees, wheelbarrow races, large games skills - throwing and catching, bat and ball etc as well as fine motor practise and working on the letters in a practical way is what is needed. Then I think you'll find it will all come naturally.

blithedance Tue 13-Oct-09 20:20:36

I have a 4.1 yo too. We haven't had any homework, it's not a pushy school, but I'm trusting that he'll write when he's ready. I just try to ignore the girls who are so proficient at writing and colouring! DS is good at other things, as I'm sure yours is, try to encourage him in that.

londonartemis Tue 13-Oct-09 20:33:44

You are absolutely right to back off. Boys are slower to develop fine motor skills than girls. It's not surprising it is all too much for him. Really, do not worry about him. His hands are simply not strong enough or ready to hold pencils on careful work for any length of time. Let him have fun recognising letters, rather than forcing him to draw them. He can learn their sounds and even read a few words which will boost his confidence, but no child should be upset like that at 4 about doing things they are not ready for.

Fayrazzled Tue 13-Oct-09 21:01:19

Thanks again for taking the time to reply- I appreciate it- and you've all echoed my thoughts. I'm so grateful for the fact he has settled happily into school and I don't want him to get upset now over writing at such an early stage.

thegrammerpolicesic Tue 13-Oct-09 21:03:13

My ds is probably only a month or two older. He was so the same a few months ago - would never choose to draw. Has really changed in the last few weeks so yours might too.
I totally backed off but would sometimes sit and draw stuff myself and make it sound really good fun so he felt he was missing out. I also made it that I was drawing all his face things.

He still doesn't want to write letters but will happily trace over the dots now if I draw them and is getting a tiny bit more confident. I'm still not pushing the proper letter stuff though....so my message is definitely go with your instinct and stick with the fun stuff rather than the worksheets if he's not happy.

Spero Tue 13-Oct-09 21:04:17

My dd is 4 and is coming home with worksheets for reading and writing. I think it is really sad. Most children are just not ready at this age and I think there is a real risk they will be put under stress and turned off learning. I wish there was a forest school nearby (and it wasn't about to be winter...)

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