Lettering in Smart Words
Lots of interest in lettering at present so to clarify a few queries please read on:
Reference: Smart Words Level AB Book. Page A34- A38. Please read this first.
The cues suggested can be applied or changed as you decide as a school. For instance, I do not use the cue “tunnel” as we don’t have many in WA so I use “hill” instead. Not that we have many hills either! I call the ‘slash’ a ‘slope’.
If you have to adapt the cues for a cursive script then the join from a cursive ‘b’, ‘o,’ ’r’ etc I call a “smile.” The tick off after many letters eg ‘m,’ ‘l,’ ‘k,’ etc I call a “tick.” The stroke going into a ‘m,’ ‘n,’ or ‘r,’ for example, I call a “handle.” The important thing is that you use cues that the children have been taught and there is consistency.
Language such as: up, around, down, in, out, is too difficult for children to follow as it is not specific enough. For example: How far is down? Quite different depending on whether you are forming an ‘l’, ‘i, or ‘p’. Around differs too depending on whether you are forming an ‘m’ or an ‘a’ or a ‘u’.
You may need to change the cues for your school. When you then write a letter you use these cues. For example, cursive b is tall stick, cup, smile. An ‘m’ is handle, hill, hill, tick.
Teaching ant tracks and the elements of letter formation is essential before letter formations are taught. Hence lots of paint wash from Kindy on for automatic left to right movement and crossing the midline.
The visual activities in Level A, particularly ‘discrimination’, ‘memory’, ‘sequential memory’, ‘sequence’, ‘completion’ and ‘constancy’ become extrememly important for good handwriting.
You have to provide the foundation skills to make handwriting automatic asap.
This also means lots of fine and gross motor activities that also promote strength in the hand, fingers, upper body etc to allow for a correct grip with good posture.
Happy to come and elaborate if you like. It usually takes at least an hour to go through the total process. Book AB is a great starting point.
If you would like a copy of the research on teaching a simple script before introducing cursive script click on Manuscript or Cursive.
BTW: From a developmental POV Kindy children will find upper case letters much easier to form than lower case, if they have to/need to/want to write.
~ Julie Bradley ~