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Free Worksheets for Name Writing Practice
Children love knowing how to write their names
For a young child, learning to write his or her name is an important skill and a major milestone. It means your child can identify his or her ownership of his creations, from a completed craft project to a favorite t-shirt.
Your child will use this skill to label every worksheet he completes, any painting he ever creates, and any card he ever signs. Unfortunately, an online search for worksheets to help your child master this important skill produces hundreds of results, many of which are not useful or productive. Many do not show the proper way for a young child to form the letters in his name. This page is a compilation of the best free worksheets I have found on the internet to help a young child learn how to write his name.
(Main image courtesy of Flickr:radioflyer007 under the Creative Commons license)
Letter Tracing Worksheets
The first step in helping your child learn to write his name is to teach your child the proper formation of the letters in his name. Learning the correct way to form letters at the start will help your child avoid needing to unlearn mistakes later.
Although names are typically written with the first letter in uppercase and all subsequent letters in lowercase, this is not the easiest way for your young child to learn to write his name. As a general rule, the uppercase letters are much easier for small hands to form, since all uppercase letters are the same height and typically lack many of the small curves and twists that lowercase letters have. Plus, once your child has mastered writing his name in all uppercase letters, he will be poised to quickly learn the proper formation of the lowercase letters.
Letter writing skills are honed only through practice, practice and more practice. The key is to make sure that when your child is practicing, he is practicing writing letters CORRECTLY. Inexplicably, many "letter tracing worksheets" do not show children the proper way to write each letter. For example, writing involves a left-to-right motion across the page. So when writing an uppercase T for example, the cross on top of the T should be made from left to right and not from right to left as many children do.
Start with some great letter tracing worksheets, one for each uppercase and lowercase letter. Each worksheet includes 4 rows of tracing lines. The first row shows the step-by-step creation of each letter, including arrows to make sure your child understands the proper formation. The second and third rows have dashed-lined letters that your child can trace over. The fourth row has the lines on which your child should write the letter, but does not have the dashed-line version of the letter. This allows your child the opportunity to try writing the letter on his own. Considering printing out two or three uppercase worksheets for each of the letters in your child's name so that he or she will have plenty of opportunity to practice.
Create Personalized Letter Tracing Sheets
Once your child is familiar with the proper formation of each letter in his or her name, it's time to introduce your child to writing his or her entire name, from the first letter to the last letter.
Although your child does not need to be able to spell, it is helpful if he or she can memorize the names of the letters in his or her name, in order. This way, as your child is writing, he or she can say aloud (or to himself or herself) the name of the letter that comes next as a reminder of what letter to write. You can teach your child how to spell his or her name simply by repeating it often. For example, set the letters of your child's name to a familiar song and instead of singing "E-I-E-I-O" at the end of "Old MacDonald Had A Farm" sing "B-R-I-A-N" using the same tune. Or for a seven-letter name such as Heather, consider singing the letters "H-E-A-T-H-E-R" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." With just a little exposure, your child will quickly catch on and be able to repeat the proper spelling of his or her name.
Once your child can spell his or her name, he or she is ready to start writing it. Customizable tracing sheets are perfect for this purpose, as you can type in your child's name and the program generates a printable worksheet for you. Check out www.softschools.com for some nice customizable sheets.
The right paper makes writing easier!
It's Time to Write
The last step in teaching your child how to properly write his name is to have him write it freehand, without dashed lines as a guide. If your child seems to be struggling with placing the letters on a line, give him a blank piece of paper. Practicing the proper letter formation is the important thing here. As his control improves he can try writing his name on a solid bottom line or between two lines.
Remind your child to begin on the left side of the paper so that he or she will have room to write all the letters in their name on a single line. (Sometimes putting a little star on the left side of the page and calling it the "Starting Star" can be an easy reminder.) Also, verbally coach your child as he writes, reminding him of a few key points:
1) To make all letters the same height;
2) To put the same amount of blank space between one letter and the next; and
3) To make sure all letters touch the bottom line (or an imaginary bottom line if writing on blank paper) so they stay straight.
Also invest in some quality writing tablets that are wide-ruled so your child will have ample space to write each letter. Plus, they should contain both a solid upper line and a solid lower line (between which your child should write all letters) and a dashed center line to help your child learn the height of many lowercase letters and the midpoint for letters such as B , P, An d E, which all have part of the letter written along that middle dashed line.
You are your child's first and most important teacher!
Evaluate Your Child's Fine Motor Skills
Before children can successful write letters, they need well developed fine motors skills and be able to complete simple tasks like using an eye dropper. If your child struggles to learn how to properly write some of the letters, it may be a good idea to complete a basic kindergarten readiness test that includes questions relating to fine motor skills. The fine motor section of a kindergarten readiness test will go over a variety of fine motor skills your child should likely be able to complete by the time he or she starts kindergarten and will give you a nice sense of your child's existing skill set.
The results of an online assessment will help you evaluate your child's existing fine motor skills and give you ideas for how to help your child improve his fine motor control, which will aid him in learning to write the letters.
If your child's fine motor skills are not yet fully developed, consider working with your child on some kindergarten worksheets that focus on tracing lines, shapes and curves. Once your child can successfully trace these lines and shapes, he will be ready to write more complicated figures like letters.
Writing letters is challenging -- the series of hooks, curves, lines, loops and crosses can be difficult for small hands to make. And even with letter tracing worksheets, your child still needs to be able to stay on the line to properly trace each letter.
If your child struggles to complete the letter tracing worksheets, try taking a step back and introducing tracing worksheets from the School Sparks website. Each worksheet features a single line for your child to trace over, progressing in difficulty from short, straight lines all the way to long, loopy curves.
An Important Resource for Parents
The "Claw" pencil grip is a must-have resource for all homeschoolers, and any parents of a young child. It helps children grip the pencil correctly but is not bulky.
For children to successfully learn to write their name, they need to have the proper pincer grip (also called a pencil grip). Letters have many curves, loops, twists and sharp angles and your child will not be able to draw these complex formations with an improper pencil grip. Unlike many other pencil grips on the market today, the "Claw" slips onto a pencil and has three small, soft cups into which your child will place his or her thumb, index finder and middle finger. The soft cups help to ensure that your child's fingers remain in the correct position. With a little practice, your child will become accustomed to putting his or her fingers in the correct position and you can discontinue using the "Claw."
Wonderful free resources for parents and teachers
Check out these great Kindergarten worksheets:
Following directions worksheets
Color words worksheets
Compare and contrast worksheets
Days of the week worksheets
And enjoy these wonderful Reading skills worksheets:
Dolch sight words
Sight word games
Word family worksheets
And check out these kindergarten math worksheets:
Skip counting worksheets
Bar graph worksheets
Tracing numbers worksheets
Ordinal numbers worksheets
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this page as well as any suggestions you have for helping young children learn to properly write the letters and their name.