Children who are struggling to write legibly may find visually processing a line or string of letters a challenge. If your young student is bunching her words or scrunching individual letters, making a graph paper alphabet can help to correct these problems. Even though students commonly use graph paper in math class, the square spaces offer an easy-to-follow guide for making properly sized and spaced letters.
Before the students can start drawing, you need to choose an appropriate size of graph paper. Graph paper comes in many different sizes. Make your decision based on how large the students need to draw the letters. Younger children who are just learning their letters may need larger blocks, while older students can use smaller-sized graph paper to practice writing. For example, some kindergartners start off their first year in school still scribbling. These students may need a larger-sized 1-inch per block grid on their graph paper in order to fit the letters in. Older students who are refining their skills and those who are working on lower case letters can try a smaller 1/4-inch block grid.
One At a Time
Start out the alphabet activity slowly. Avoid overwhelming the student by asking him to write the entire alphabet on the first try. Begin with "A" in the first block. If the child is struggling to write the letter on his own, write it for him in the first space on the top row of the graph paper. Ask him to trace the letter. Next, have him write the same letter in the row directly underneath the first one. Repeat this step until he feels comfortable writing the letter. Move down a row, and ask him to start over, trying the "A" again. After he masters the letter, he can move on to "B." Continue on throughout the rest of the alphabet in the same way. Have him circle the block with the most legible letter in each row.
Writing the entire alphabet with the letters bunched up against each other won't help your students to succeed. If the student writes letter right next to letter, she may have difficulty discriminating one from the other. Instead of making a line of letters squeezed together, ask the student to leave a space in between each one. This provides extra room and can help the student to better distinguish one letter from another. Have her mark the space in between each letter with a dot. This ensures that she is putting enough space between each letter and will stop her from overlapping them through the graph paper's cells, and will be beneficial when she starts writing words and needs to master the concept of leaving a space between words.
Take a Look Back
After your student finishes writing the entire alphabet, ask him to take a look back and review his work. Have him use his index finger to point out each letter -- in order -- and mark the spaces in between to make sure that the letters aren't pushing into each other. If he's still struggling to tell one letter from another, give him a bold marker to put a point in each blank space. This creates a visual reminder of where one letter ends an the next begins.
- Alexa Smahl/Demand Media