Some serious “interior decorating” has taken place here on Practical Pages!
Teaching Cursive Step-By-Step
Teaching Print Step-By-Step
I have combined my Print and Cursive Handwriting pages all together on my new Handwriting Page in order to streamline searches and downloads.
Not only that, but I have completely refreshed and updated my handwriting charts, rewrote my Handwriting Step-by-Step guides and put excellent finishing touches to my Handwriting Tips Booklet.
Please update your old downloads with these new pages!
You may wonder why preschool teachers use different sized lined pages in early handwriting lessons. You may simply assume that your child will simply learn write on store-bought lined paper, but this may lead to enormous frustration and stress for your young child.
Let’s establish one simple rule ~
Always teach large – to – smaller
- Start with very wide spaces on blank paper. Pre-school teachers use blank paper and fold it into quarters = 4 lines.
- Then fold the quarters in half and = 8 narrower lines. Teach young preschoolers to draw their lines or circles between the folded lines.
- You can draw or print different colored or dotted lines ~
Write the letters ‘sitting’ on the blue line, body of letter touching the red dotted line and the tall letter shapes touching the black line
Teach child to write between the dotted and the black lines
But you can appreciate that all these lines are very confusing! Where does your child know where to start?
Here’s my proven CAT or MAN tip:
- First, chose the line width to match your child’s skills – wide for beginners, narrower as they master their fine motor skills and spatial recognition.
- Draw a margin down the left side of the page.
- Now draw a cat in the margin. The cat body is a circle that fills the middle body lines, the cat head fills to the top line and the tail hangs to touch the bottom line. Many teachers draw the body line in blue: blue = body
- Now you can refer to every letter stroke ~
- All letters sit in the body line. Most letters start on the top body line. (There are 2 body lines! See why this is difficult for some children to ‘see’?)
- Tall letters (like b, d, f, l & t) all touch the top head line. Some start here.
- Some letters have a ‘tail’ (like g, j, p, q & y) which hang to touch the bottom line.
- All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers start in the ‘head’ line.
- All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers ‘sit’ on the body line.
- No upper case letter or number hangs below the body!
- Next, teach the child to draw a stick man in the margins of their lined page.
This is very important! Once the child starts any handwriting lesson on lined paper, FIRST draw in the men! This helps the child know where to start and finish each letter stroke. (This is not art, it is a quick reference! Don’t let them waste time here!)
- Eventually, before any handwriting lesson, we used a quick abbreviation of the man = my children drew a DOT in the ‘head’ line and a VERTICAL DASH in the ‘body’ line, and skipped open a line. A quick dot-dash-skip … dot-dash-skip … all the way down the margin prepared them for their handwriting or copywork lesson. They started all body letters in the lines with the vertical slash and all uppercase or tall letters in the line with the dot.
- When buying lined exercise notebooks for your children, look for widest lined pages. Don’t be afraid to use lots of paper and spread each letter over 3 lines (head, body & tail) and skip a line.
- Then your children can work with normal lined pages, again using 3 lines and skipping a line.
- Children work by then working on Irish lined paper. These are much narrower than the normal lined paper, but, working over the 3 lines and skipping a line, the size of the handwriting is much smaller and more like the normal handwriting size.
- Finally, when working on 1 line and writing ‘normally’ some children need to be reminded to work halfway up in the body line. You may try ~
- Draw in a faint pencil line halfway through the body line.
- Place a special lined guide chart under the page – I simply drew black lines on cardstock to slide under the lined page and the faint outline could still be seen. The halfway line was dotted. This worked very well in my classroom where some children either wrote too small or too large, or varied their sizes too much.
Now, with these handwriting tips, you are ready to visit my handwriting pages for charts to laminate, handwriting tips and lined pages.
You can also find free handwriting lined paper downloads at Donna Young and Activity Village.
In my previous post I shared some practical ways to be your child’s narration scribe.
In this post I would like to give some tips on typing and printing out your child’s narrations.
Just Type it ~
- Sit at the computer, open a new Word page and start to type as they narrate.
- As. Is.
- Your aim to capture your child’s flow of thought.
- Don’t worry about any technicalities … yet.
- Resist the temptation to correct/ prompt/ re-word anything.
- Don’t worry about mistakes. (I almost never talk about grammar or language use while doing narrations.)
- If the child stalls or is taking too long to start, you could ask a simple question, “What is the most exciting part?” or “How did …?” or “If you look at the illustration tell me about the story …”
- Paragraph where necessary.
- When they have finished, add their story title, and under that, their name and the date.
- Read it back. If you read it as they dictated. If there is some issue such as each. and. every sentence starting, “And then …” “And then …” they will pick up the repetition and you can encourage them to leave out the “And then …” and start the sentence directly.
- Ask them if they would like to add, or change, or remove anything.
- If they are happy, save it.
Now for some computer stuff ~
- Once the narration is ‘captured’ save it. Create a folder for each child with their name. Add sub-folders for specific subjects in their folder, (e.g.: Nadene — History)
- Select the page layout ~ Portrait (standing up tall and narrow) or landscape (lying wide and flat)
- Enlarge the title and underline or bold it.
- Let them choose an interesting or suitable font and font color.
- Enlarge the font to about 26 (large) so that they can “read” their own narration once it is printed. Most young children merely ‘retell’ their original story, but this becomes an excellent early reading exercise!
- Insert photos, clipart or images into the narration where necessary.
- If the story is long enough, add page numbers.
- Print out the page. Punch holes and put it in a binder or cut it out and paste it in their jotter, or on the notebook page, or above or below their illustration.
Print the story out as a A5 booklet~
- Save the story.
- Now you will need to make a few layout changes to create a booklet:
- Select suitable sections (usually after each paragraph) and click ‘insert’ – select ‘page breaks‘ to separate the writing on to a new page. Now there will be a large blank space under the sentence/ paragraph for the child’s illustrations. I try to have an even number of pages, but this is not necessary.
- ‘Insert -page number’ – select ‘page number‘ and choose if you want the number at the top or bottom of the page, left, right or in the middle of each page.
- Select all and change to a large font size (about 22 – 26) because you will print 2 pages on a page and it will ‘shrink’ the writing
- Save the new layout.
Now to print ~
- Select ‘print’ and on the print page menu look for ‘print 1 page per sheet’ and change it to ‘print 2 pages per sheet‘.
- See how it looks on the ‘print preview’.
- Make sure that the font is large enough. If it is too small, cancel the print job and go back and select all and increase the font size.
- If you are satisfied – print it out.
- Fold the pages in half or cut them out to make a booklet. Staple.
- Let the child illustrate on the blank pages/ spaces.
- Ask the child to make and/or decorate a cover.
My children loved their own story books and proudly showed and ‘read’ their stories to family and friends!
How have you printed and saved your children’s narrations? Share with us in the comments.