For the past year, we've been using "Letters and Numbers for Me,"Handwriting Without Tears' (HWT) Kindergarten handwriting curriculum. Even though Aikman is only 4, this has been EXTREMELY beneficial to his handwriting! I cannot tell you enough how his handwriting has went from pathetic to amazingly good (considering his age). See for yourself....
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago. As you can see, his uppercase letter formation is very good, but his lowercase formation needs a little more work. (We'll talk more about how we transitioned from HWT lines to traditional lined paper in a few days....) The HWT method includes a slate board, chalk bits, small piece of cloth, wooden patterns, workbook, and a teacher's manual. The program primarily uses catchy sayings to help the kids to remember how to create the letters. Also, when the child is being taught how to create the shape of the letter, the "wet, dry, try" method is used. Thisblogdoes a great job of explaining how the chalkboard works using "wet, dry, try." With a little research, I have found that a number of Montessori schools are also implementing this program. One of my favorite blogs,My Montessori Journey, actually shows us in one of her postshowshe uses HWT in her classroom. Please check out her posthere, as she demonstrates exactly how it is set up on her shelves. Likewise, a number of homeschoolers and bloggers also are using HWT. Here's a list of a few bloggers that I follow that use HWT (some are Montessori blogs, while others are not -- links are directly to their blog, and not a post about HWT): The Homeschool Den Day by Day in Our World Gray Family Circus Our Worldwide Classroom Work and Play, Day By Day Adventures in Mama-land
If this isn't enough information that this program works, here's alinkto a little 5 year old girl who was born with a major physical/learning disability, and within a few months went from not being able to write ANY letters to being able to write the letters in her name.
For regular readers of my blog, you know that I am extremely thrifty, and actually found the "Letters and Numbers for Me" book at our local Teacher's Center, where they were offering it for $1! However, none of the other resources came with it. Even though I seriously contemplated it, we didn't purchase the recommended chalkboard or wooden pieces -- not even the teacher's manual. Instead, I made my own "wooden pieces" out of magnetic felt (also a clearance find at Joann's, which I haven't found anywhere else since!). For the patterns, I used theonesthat Tired, Need Sleep made.
How we used this program:
Three times a week, we would work on a different letter of the alphabet -- first uppercase, followed by numbers 0-9, and then lowercase letters. I would have him look at the images in the workbook, and then build the letter out of the magnetic felt pieces on the fridge. I would demonstrate to him how to properly trace the felt letter (which he enjoyed MUCH better than thesandpaper letters). Here's Aikman on "m" day, upon realizing that the letter m looks similar to bunny ears...
Then we would pull out a dry erase board, and I would demonstrate how to write the letter. He would erase the letter with his finger, which left behind a faint trace of where the letter was. Then, he would write over top of where I had just written the letter.... this isn't quite the "wet, dry, try" method, but it was close! Next, we would practice writing the letter several times on the board, until I felt comfortable that he could master writing it independently, all the while, encouraging him. Finally, I would let him see the worksheet, and let him decide if he'd felt comfortable enough to do it. Here he is this fall, working on the letter G.
Tomorrow, I will be featuring my usual Fabulous Finds Friday post, but I will be returning back to handwriting with Karen Tyler's album to discuss the sound booklets, dotted letters, and the squared paper on Saturday.
***My hubby is the best! He just helped me to recover this post, since Blogger ate it yesterday with its "maintenance update."