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The Seven Steps to Beginning Curriculum for The Young Reader

Each month we will be featuring a different part of the Seven Steps. If you miss any of the parts or just want to go back and re-read a part, just click on the links below .

1. Strategies For a Positive Mind (August 2005)
2. Writing Plain and Clear (September 2005)
3. Vocabulary By Example (October 2005)
4. Spelling In Parts (November 2005)
5. Listening With Feedback (December 2005)
6. Comprehension Puzzle (January 2006)
7. Phonemic Awareness (March 2006)

Vocabulary By Example

Repeating mistakes with praise only creates a long difficult struggle ahead to correct those mistakes. When a child is ready to learn to write, give specific instructions to accomplish that goal. The patience will pay off in two months of working 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening with the struggling of learning to write. If you just let a child write copied letters incorrectly, it will take five months to correct.

Getting Started Right

1. What will you need to buy?

Buy lots of writing paper that has bold lines. The centerline is to be dashed with lighter ink.

Use large space lines so the coordination of the child will allow for mistakes such as crooked instead of a straight line.

Buy large pencils that help with your child's first grip. Triangle finger grips can be slid over the pencil. No eraser is to be on the end, so the child will not loose concentration thinking about turning the pencil to erase. Buy a gum eraser.

Buy a black marking pen that hopefully will not bleed thru to the other side of the paper. A black ink pen can also be used for instruction.

Buy scotch tape to be able to put the daily work on the refrigerator.

Buy a notebook to place each day's work to show improvement. At the end of two weeks have your child select the best paper to save and throw away the rest. Date this paper and keep it with the other two week improvement papers for the first year. Your child will look at this keepsake with pride and want to share with the family the visual improvement.

Buy a sharpener. Dull pencils are hard to handle when learning to write and children break the tips frequently at first.

2. How do I instruct with success?

Position your self next to your child. If you are right-handed, sit on the right side of your child. A right-handed person usually wants to sit on the left to make correcting easy, but actually is hiding with their arm from the view of the child how to correct a mistake.

Erasing is only to be done by the parent. Erase only that little portion of the letter that is not right. Never erase the whole effort of your child to form a letter. Explain what part you are erasing and how to correct that mistake. Use a pen to dot a beginning and end of the correction.

Always have the child write from top to bottom. Even if he writes it correctly from bottom to top, erase it. Bottom to top writing creates backward letters in the future.

Start with his first name. Go slowly, one letter at a time. Give a beginning point right on the top line and an end point on the bottom line. You may write the name on one line, so your child can see it. Have your child write directly under your sample, not to the side. Write your sample in straight, easy to copy letters. Make sure that you touch the top and bottom lines in your sample.

Have your child write their name only once. This encourages completion and keeps everyone from being tired while getting the coordination needed in learning to write.

Explain that every name begins with a capital and all of the other letters are lower case. Never teach your child to write their name in all capital letters. This creates correction time at the beginning of kindergarten.

By the second week, add the child's last name to the same line. Place two fingers between the first and last name to show spacing. Again use a capital letter and lower case letters following.

Eliminate the sample of the first name, but do give the sample of the last name.

3. What do I say during the writing session?

Give a time line first before starting. An example to say could be, "You will write your name on this line neatly once. When you are finished, place the work on the refrigerator for everyone to see. Before our next session, take the paper down and place it in this folder."

Set the rules before starting. For example say to your child, "I will handle the eraser and pen marks. Your job is to start at the top and do not stop until you get to the bottom." You want a one-stroke movement.

At the beginning, you may need to point with the pen the direction of the pencil stroke. Do not write it, so your child can learn to visualize the movement of the stroke of the pencil. Do not use little dots, other than the beginning and end dots.

Praise each letter. Never let the child write above or below the dark lines unless it is a p, q, or g letter. For example say to your child, " You wrote that letter neatly, it makes this sound." Another example to say is, "Your Grandma will love to see you daily work." Or, "You finished the whole thing."

Within four weeks, your child will be ready to practice the alphabet letters. Complete the lowercase letters first and then add the capitals. Again start with five letters evening spaced and expect your child to write directly under the letters and keep the spacing.

By the second month, every child in my kindergarten class could write from memory their complete name and write all the lower case letters neatly. When this was accomplished, was when I started the children in my class into writing what they were reading.

We care about our future generation at QuickStartReading.com. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to e-mail us at questions@quickstartreading.com



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