Formation and Placement of Letters on a Line in Developing Handwriting
By Morenike Taiwo
The first step to reading is the formation of letters which starts with the sandpaper letters. The child can read the word as it sounds on the letter. The sandpaper letters have the vowels and the consonants sounds in it. The phonogram letters which has the 16 key phonograms is another way that the child uses to form letters by tracing just like the alphabet letters in the sandpaper letters.
The child traces and makes sound of the letter he has traced and subsequently form word from it. The combination of different letters both with the alphabet and phonograms helps the child to form words with the sandpaper letters when the child learns to trace on the paper, table, sand, floor, and in the air. The child traces from his memory of what he has traced on the sandpaper.
From the sandpaper letters the child progresses to moveable alphabets. With the moveable alphabets, the child first learns to form letters of the middle line. He places different letters on the middle line to identify those letters that stays only on the middle line. He then notices the letters that moves up to the upper line and those that go down to the lower line. This is where the child learns the placement of letters on a line.
The child first learns to write letters randomly on the chalk board without any lines. He practices the holding of the chalk with skill which he had already acquired when working with metal insets. He learns how to place the chalk on the board by placing it flat on the side. He writes different letters on the plain board using the sandpaper letters as a guide as he looks on it write his own.
He later learns to write from his memory and wipes it off. When he has had enough practice with writing on the plain board, he progresses to writing the middle letters on the lined board. The child does not have to learn all the alphabets in order.
He first learns to place the middle letters on the line – a c e o u etc, using the moveable alphabet and the cloth. Once he is familiar with the placement of the middle letters, he learns to place the top letters -b d f l etc.
The top letters start from the top line and ends at the middle line. Then, he learns to place the bottom letters on the line – g j q etc. The bottom letters start from the middle line and ends on the bottom line.
This is the progression of placement of letters on a line. When the child is successful with these, he progresses to write the alphabets with the guide on the board as he writes on the board with the lines.
The moveable alphabets also help the child to remember all he has learnt through his senses, he is able to use the beginning, ending, and middle sounds to form simple words with the moveable alphabets.
Metal insets is another activity that help the child with formation of letters, with the skill to move the hand back and forth, placing the letters in the right order is a skill he will acquire with constant practice. Object box 1&2 is another activity that helps the child to develop skills in letter formation.
Puzzle words, classified reading and cards and function of words (FOW) activities and exercises are other ways of developing letter formation skills in the child. These activities introduce the child to different word combinations and short sentence formation with articles, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, verb, adverb, and continuation of commands.