Learning how to write is the final step to becoming literate! If children learn about letter names and sounds, how to memorize vocabulary words, and how to sound out three letter words BEFORE learning how to write, then they can focus on learning the fine motor skill of writing while REINFORCING what they already know.
Ages and Stages
I have noticed that my children have been interested and capable of writing in very different ways and at very different ages. Learning how to hold a writing utensil requires special fine motor skills that take lots of time to develop. I think it’s good to introduce children to writing at a young age if they are interested, but I wouldn’t force it.
- Toddlers – Use fat crayons and markers and encourage any kind of markings on a page. I love writing words and pictures, and my 2.5 year old son Julian LOVES coloring over them. My daughter Ophelia (now just 4), never really cared for crayons or markers, but she has always loved painting.
- Preschool – Start introducing a pencil and model the correct way to hold it, but don’t push it. Start practicing lines, shapes, and letter formation. Let your child watch you as you draw and color. Provide lots of opportunities for coloring, and make it fun! There are also some pretty neat toys out there like this Getting Ready to Write Gumball Grabber that will help your child build hand strength.
- Kindergarten – Practice making letters and start writing words. Use write-on-wipe-off books to make letter writing fun.
These hand drawn resources are basically my ABC resources without the color. I created this font by hand then imported it into Gimp where I cleaned it up and digitized it. I wanted to make my own font because I wanted to teach children how to read letters the way we typically write letters. I also wanted to be able to color in my letters.
ABC Black and White Coloring Poster Page
After children have learned their letter names and letter sounds, coloring them in will reinforce this skill. You can print out this coloring page, and have your child color over it or color it in using crayons, pencils, markers, or paint. When coloring with your child, it can be fun to color your own page while sitting next to him or her. This way, your child will be able to see how you do things like hold a writing utensil, stay in the lines, and choose what to color. Make sure you “think aloud” to tell your child what you’re thinking while you’re doing it.
Download PDF: ABC Black and White Poster
ABC Black and White Coloring Flashcards
These one sided flashcards are a great way to reinforce letter names, letter sounds, and to introduce children to writing. You can print out one set and let your child scribble in it however he or she chooses, and then you can print out another set to color in yourself or color together. Your child will enjoy watching you color, and it’s fun to have a personalized set of flashcards. You could even laminate them when you’re done!
Download PDF: ABC Black and White Flashcards
Being a teacher-mom, I have been exposed to a TON of resources. The ones I link to below are simply the best of the best and have been a HUGE help as I’ve been teaching my little ones about writing.
- Priddy Books Wipe Clean Resources – I have tried several different wipe clean books, and these are my favorite! Although it comes with it’s own marker, you’ll want to get some Expo dry erase markers and an eraser that can be easily wiped away.
- Handwriting Without Tears – These books are hands down the best handwriting books I have ever seen. They are simple, easy to follow, and really fun for kids to use.
- Kumon – These books are great because they group letters into the types of lines and shapes needed to make them.
- My First Book of Mazes – Mazes are a SUPER fun way for little ones to get excited about writing.
- Grow to Know Uppercase Letters (Pre-K)
- My First Book of Uppercase Letters
- Tracing Lowercase Letters
- Grow to Know Lowercase Letters (Pre-K)
- My First Book of Lowercase Letters
- My Book of Writing Words: Learning About Consonants and Vowels
- Grow to Know Numbers 1-30 (Pre-K)
- My Book of Numbers
- The Measured Mom Handwriting Resources – This mom knows how to teach, and she has created some amazing (and FREE) resources that are great for teaching your little ones handwriting.
- Letter Tracing Apps – While letter tracing apps won’t teach pencil control, they will help to familiarize children with how to form letters. These are the apps my children have enjoyed.
- Writing Wizard – This app is whimsical, fun, and easy to navigate.
- Little Writer: The Tracing App for Kids – I love the simplicity of this app and my kids really enjoy it too!
- Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try for Capitals, Numbers & Lowercase – This app simulates a slate chalkboard with double lines and is a great supplement to go along with the physical books.
- abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words – This app is great for little ones who are still learning their letter names and sounds.
- Dora’s Skywriting app – In Dora’s ABCs: Volume 1 app, children can trace letters in the sky.
The fine motor skills required to master handwriting take quite some time to develop. If children learn about letter names and sounds, how to memorize vocabulary words, and how to sound out three letter words before learning about writing, it makes learning about writing the singular focus which is far less overwhelming for children.
For More Information
You’ll find everything you need to teach your child to read on my FREE READING RESOURCES page which includes flashcards, videos, plus more tips and tricks.
How to Teach Your Child to Read in 5 Simple Steps (Keeping it Simple)
- Language Rich Environment: Use oral language at the child’s level (Get down on the floor and play together!) and help them memorize vocabulary words. (Tell them the names of things!)
- Phonemic Awareness: Teach one sound for each letter of the alphabet. (Start with short vowels.)
- Phonics: Tap out sounds in three letter words to teach how sounds come together to make words.
- More Complex Phonemic Awareness: Introduce long vowels, digraphs, and other vowel sounds.
- Reading Comprehension Strategies: Use quality literature to interact with books and ask questions before, during, and after reading to make sure your child is understanding what is being read.
Teach Your Child to Read Blog Series (Digging Deeper)
- #1-Oral Language Development Lays the Foundation for Learning to Read
- #2-How Engage Your Baby or Young Child with Reading
- #3-Learning How to Read Begins with the ABCs
- #4-Memorizing Words Before Sounding Them Out Leads to Reading
- #5-Building Vocabulary with Numbers, Colors, and Shapes
- #6-Teaching Phonics with Three Letter Word Families
- #7-Unlock the Final Stages of Reading with Advanced Phonemic Awareness
- #8-Reading Comprehension Strategies Lead to Independent Readers
- #9-Reinforcing Reading with Writing