After Sage taught himself to read he asked me to teach him to print. While he has "know how" for several years, He wants to write stories but tires quickly when printing in his self-taught style. Until now I have never taught him the proper way to print. To encourage his natural learning I allowed him to develop his own way to write, so he often starts and ends at points that are illogical when writing text. (His "S" ends at the top for example).
Now that he has a better grasp on reading and writing, it is time to correct his form. (In a similar fashion he – like most children – often wrote some letters and numbers backwards. This, too, is part of the journey to literacy to I did not often correct but instead allowed it to self-correct naturally, which it did.)
We started a homeschooling activity to meet his desire for learning the proper method of printing letters at an easy and playful pace.
I printed out a simple chart showing the proper way to write each letter including arrows (like this one). Each day we choose a new letter and practice writing it in both capital and lowercase on lined paper, using the proper form. (My lined paper is a thrifted ream of vintage kindergarten paper, but you can print out sheets from free downloads too). After 5 or 10 minutes of the letter of the day (which Lupine sometimes joins in on as well) we review the previous letters, write a few words that use letters we have already learned, and then make letter art!
The letter art is based loosely on what I heard teachers do in Waldorf schools, where the focus is one letter at a time and that letter is brought to life through stories and art. We have simplified it a bit, but the letters are very much alive to my children thanks to this activity.
The letter art is based on the visual of the larger, stronger capital letter and the smaller, more delicate lowercase. Together the children and I choose an illustration to represent each letter (a capital A-apple tree and lowercase a-apples or a capital B-bear and lowercase b-butterfly for example). Then using our colored pencils we create our picture in the shape of the letters.
It is a wonderful way for the knowledge of the letter to become permanent in the child's mind, and I find the kids both drawing on this activity when working on spelling or sounding out words.
We do a letter or two a week and the kids have both enjoyed the process immensely. Sometimes they lay in bed at night trying to decide what tomorrow's letters will become in their art. They are seeing their letter books growing (Lupine and I do her illustrations together), and by the time we are done Sage will have an alphabet book of his own creation as well as a deeper love and knowledge of letters and printing.