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September 12, 2008

Teaching the Correct Letter Formation

Teaching the Correct Letter FormationTeaching the Correct Letter Formation

Teaching the Correct Letter Formation Lg

This year, I have been figuring out the best way to teach correct letter formation and review the alphabet at the same time with my kindergarten class.  Here are some things that are working well for me! I would love to hear from anyone that has another successful method to share!


One thing that is extremely helpful for me with both tasks is using the CD or DVD for Letters and Sounds.  When we use the CD from Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds, I have the letters typed up very large and hold up a letter card in my hand while we sing. (Look for the download of those cards here.)  So they look at the letter while drawing it in the air and doing the motions for the songs. I have found it easiest to manage those cards by laminating them and binding them into a book. That way, they are always in order, and I never have trouble finding the correct letter quickly. The capital letter is on the front of the card and the lower case letter is on the back. I bound them with rings, punching some nice big holes for the rings so that I can turn the pages quickly while we sing.


When I use the Letters and Sounds DVD, of course, the letter is already on the screen, so there is no reason to hold the letter card in my hand.  I can point to the letter on my big screen, and pause the DVD at any point to stop and have the kids draw it in the air.  One great thing about the DVD is that it also has the letter drawing and redrawing itself over and over again, so that is a great continual reminder for the children of how the letter should be formed.  Watch a little bit of this video below from it to see what I mean.


Once my students know the songs for A-F, we know enough letter songs to work on them in small groups. Then we get out the Handwriting Without Tears sticks and curves, and we build each letter out of sticks. Then we trace the letters as we sing the songs for each one. My kids always LOVE this!  It’s great because it is a hands-on, active participation lesson.  With HWT, you are supposed to take a rag and “polish” the letter in the order that you would draw it. I think that this is because without the rag in your hand, you would probably get a splinter in your finger from dragging it along the wood! So we used rags to trace (or “polish) our wooden letters.

Handwriting Without Tears & HeidiSongs

I have also had the kids take the magnadoodles that I used to have and write the letters as we sing. White boards work too, as well as Gelboards. We have also made letters out of playdough and sang the songs as well. I am going to try it with salt boxes, too. We’ll be working with chalkboards and wet sponges eventually, too. The children in the group each get a little chalkboard, a piece of chalk, and a damp sponge. The children first draw the letter, and then trace over it with a small square of damp sponge. Then they get to watch the letter disappear! As long as the sponges aren’t too wet, you can continue to use the chalkboard over and over.

With Gelboards, you write with a magnetic stylus, or use letters with magnets on the back. Then you press with your finger to erase. Fun!

With Gelboards, you write with a magnetic stylus, or use letters with magnets on the back. Then you press with your finger to erase. Fun!

I think my favorite way to practice is to put on the DVD and give each child a white board, and then walk around the room and watch them try to write each letter as the song plays.  It’s so easy!  There is no prep, and there is nothing to correct!

So there you have it!  If anyone thinks of other ways to use the letter songs, I would love to know!

– Heidi


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