Last year, G started tracing letters as part of writing preparation. He’d come home from school with worksheets with smiley faces on them for a job well done. I didn’t think too much about his ability to write letters without any kind of dots or dashes to guide him.
But when his fourth birthday rolled around in March, it seemed obvious that his classmates could write their names and G couldn’t. Every single card had “from” or “love” and a name clearly written by one of his peers. When we asked him to do the same on his peers’ birthday cards, he couldn’t.
Or maybe just wouldn’t. I don’t think it was a complete lack of ability, but more willingness and want to do so. Either way, it broke my heart and I am scared I got a glimpse into what nights and weekends of homework will be like as he moves onto higher learning.
It has been hard not to compare our child’s abilities to those of his classmates, and I realize that parents could have helped in writing names in cards, though it didn’t look that way to me. (Mr Boots eventually put his hand over G’s to help him write his name in one card.) I’ve read some kids learn this skill at three and some not until six. And, as with everything, girls are quicker to learn than boys. Oh! And then there is the part of me that is saying, “this isn’t the end of the world; kids need play more than writing skills right now.” Even so, Mr Boots and I agreed that G would need to practice writing his name more over the summer.
So that’s been something we’ve been doing. 4-5 times a week (maybe 6 if he asks), G sits down at the kitchen table and completes two preschool writing prep worksheets: one with his name and one for a specific letter of the alphabet. If we stay on track, we’ll complete the alphabet just in time for the start of his final year of preschool in September.
I surfed the Internet and made my way through numerous pins to find free, customizable worksheets to put in a binder. It wasn’t the easiest feat, especially combing through Pinterest. Some places wanted you to subscribe before you could print. Some wanted you to pay. Some needed you to download software. Some sites were just too busy (read: numerous ads) for me to easily find the link to print a worksheet. I got a headache, so I tlist my current go-to sites for preschool writing preparation, along with the links to the worksheets we are using:
Confessions of a Homeschooler
I found these great A-Z Handwriting Worksheets in the Kindergarten tab of Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s printable page. Each worksheet has a cute picture, line tracing for your child to practice the motions of writing the letter, and upper and lowercase letter practice. These are the first worksheets I have G do when we move onto a new letter to practice because they also show you which line should be drawn first.
Tot Schooling has a long list of free printables in a variety of subjects for young learners. I printed out their Alphabet & Picture Tracing printable and love how these worksheets allow kids to trace lines for a picture based on the letter, helping them with fine motor and drawing skills in addition to practicing the letter itself.
Powerful Mothering has all sorts of fun learning and craft ideas for kids. Their custom printable generator not only allows you to choose the name/word you want your child to practice, but also lets you choose the style (outline, cursive, tracing…). Once you create your worksheet, you can download it and save it to your computer. I saved G’s name to Dropbox so I can access it easily.
Worksheet Fun is geared towards teachers and DOES require you to register prior to downloading their worksheets. I did, saying I’m a preschool teacher (I mean, I could definitely argue that I am). I’m including it here because I loved so much of what they offer. It’s free, and I’ll be able to access things for elementary school and other subjects. G has expressed interest in being able to trace more wavy lines and this site has a lot of great worksheets that allow children to do just that.
I printed out enough worksheets to get through the summer. However, once G’s completed one, we can’t use it again. A few sites mentioned getting these neat dry erase pockets so that you can reuse your worksheets to save money (and trees!):
I didn’t know how our summer of pre-writing would go, so I didn’t order any. However, they’re now on my list of things to buy the next time we make an Amazon order. Both my boys have developed a fascination with dry erase markers (especially ones like these with the eraser on the cap). Sometimes G will ask to complete extra worksheets, so I think they’d be a good investment. L likes to be just like his older brother, so being able to put a worksheet in a sleeve and allow him to scribble over it would be a plus.
G has been completing worksheets for about three weeks now, and thankfully the task has been met with minimal attitudes and tears. When he completes his letter sheet I turn it over and make him write the letter on his own: once in uppercase and once in lower case. I’ve noticed he tends to write a lot of them backwards, though I am hoping that will correct itself with more practice. He also started out wanting to trace letters in a round about fashion (like tracing the two horizontal lines in an upper case “I” before the vertical). Based on conversations with him, it sounds like that might have been how he traced letters at school too. The end result looked great, but he wasn’t grasping HOW to write the letter properly. However, I’m finding this problem is starting to correct itself just by sitting down with G as he completes these worksheets and correcting him as needed. G is starting to trace letters properly, which I think is helping him when I make him write one on the back of his worksheet (even if it is backwards).
But the best thing to come of all this has been catching G trying to write the letters of his name on his own when he sits down to draw. Not all the time. And maybe not in order. Or in a line. And maybe not all of them. But catching him trying to write letters when he thinks I’m not looking has been awesome to see.
I hope these writing preparation worksheets and websites help you! Are there any sites you would add to the list?