Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Writing Instruction

I had taught my daughter to write before I taught her to read. I didn't know it was supposed to be the other way around until a few months ago.  I had went by public school guidelines and that was a mistake!  The child really should start learning to read at 4 years old, or for slower children, at 5.  Writing should come later as reading should be the main concentration.  It's too late to go back and change that now so I'm going ahead with formal writing instruction.

I bought a dry erase board for my daughter a few years ago and she still loves it!  She thinks its fun to write her letters and numbers and erase them and write them again.  She sometimes begs to take it in the car as well.  I highly recommend it and it comes with other boards all in one and they have one for cursive writing as well. I'm an advocate for not teaching cursive until the middle of 2nd grade because I believe the child needs a good foundation in manuscript first.  Update - read my post on our early start with cursive and the problems with it.

You can buy the dry erase board at Walmart and its made by Board Dudes and here is a picture from their website:

The first week I made sure my daughter's letters were written correctly (top to bottom, left to right, etc) and found that she had been writing several letters incorrectly.  You may say "so what?" but what you don't understand is if you don't catch writing errors early and change them, it will cause the child problems later on, especially when they learn cursive handwriting!  So we took a week and went slowly teaching each letter again - capital and lowercase - on a dry erase board and then she copied them correctly on a handwriting page (see photo below).

A word of advice to those who may have children who are not writing yet - DO NOT use those "fat" kindergarten pencils!  They claim they help the child 'ease' into holding a pencil and slowly increasing their fine motor skill in writing BUT I believe it actually halts the process and is unnecessary.  Rather, give them normal no. 2 pencils from the beginning and they will be able to write faster and their hand will be stronger. 

I'm so glad that I checked her letters and found the errors and taught her to fix them NOW instead of later.  She still makes the occasional error but quickly remembers and erases and writes it correctly.

We are in the third week of "The Complete Writer" and we have been enjoying it!  I would recommend it to everyone because not only is your child learning to write sentences but they are also writing sentences from good literature; the classics!  For instance, the first week (see photo below) it was implementing sentences from "Little House in the Big Woods".  Not only did my daughter do copywork of sentences from the book, some days it was reading an excerpt from the book and then having her narrate and tell me what she remembered from the book.


She also is learning that sentences always begin with a capital letter and right now is learning those that end with a period. Not only that, but in grammar we are learning about nouns, common and proper, and she now understands that people (proper nouns) always begin with a capital letter and that has been implemented even in her writing book.


  1. WOW!!! Katie's handwriting is so amazing for her age. If a teacher from public school saw her handwriting they would be amazed also. AWESOME!!!! GO KATIE!!!

  2. Thanks! I am very proud of her, she has the best teacher after all hehe. =0