Your preschooler can learn how to print the alphabet.

How to Teach Preschoolers to Print the Alphabet

by Freddie Silver

Does your preschooler name the letters in the children's books you read with her and easily wield a pencil or crayon when working on craft projects? Sounds like she's ready to practice some printing. Take it slow and make it fun, and you can give her a nice head start on her education.

1 Choose a time for the lesson when your preschooler is well-rested and not hungry.

2 Prepare your child for the lesson by telling her you are going to show her how to write letters like grown-ups do.

3 Print a large uppercase letter on a sheet of blank paper. You might choose to start with the first letter in your preschooler's name, or begin with the letter "A."

4 Ask your child to watch you as you repeat step three. While you print the letter, describe the movements you are making. For example, for the letter "A," you would say, "I start at the bottom of the paper and make a slanty line going up. Then I make a slanty line going down. Now I make a small line across."

5 Tell your preschooler that now it's her turn to make the letter. Give the child a sheet of paper on which you've lightly printed the letter in pencil. Ask her to trace around the pencil marks with a dark crayon the way you did it in step four. Talk him through the necessary hand movements.

6 Guide your child's hand if she is hesitant and seems to need help. Allow her to work independently if she wants, even if she makes errors.

7 Give many words of praise and encouragement.

8 Repeat step five a few times until your preschooler seems to be tracing the letter easily. Give her a blank sheet of paper and her to write the letter on her own. Talk her through the necessary movements as she does this.

9 Keep your lessons short, no longer than 20 to 30 minutes. It's best to stop the lesson for the day while your child still seems interested, rather than waiting until she becomes bored and restless.

10 Repeat steps three through eight with the rest of the alphabet. Use this same method to introduce lowercase letters as the child masters the uppercase ones.

11 Point out the letters to help your preschooler recognize them when you read stories together.

12 Reduce the size of the letters made as she becomes more proficient. Give your child lined paper to print letters on after she has mastered making smaller letters on blank paper.

Items you will need

  • Sheets of blank paper
  • Sheets of lined paper
  • Large pencils or crayons

Tips

  • Place magnet letters or alphabet blocks on the table while you work. This can help your preschooler recognize the letters from previous play.
  • There are many ready-made books available to help children practice printing. These usually come with directional arrows to assist in the correct formation of each letter.

Warning

  • If your child appears to be left-handed, do not try to force the pencil or crayon into her right hand.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images