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Getting Ready For Kindergarten, Have you been teaching your child the wrong alphabet?

Updated on December 3, 2012

A New Way to Write Your Name

Slightly amused that this D'Nealian worksheet puts his name on top in block writing than shows how to make his name the correct way
Slightly amused that this D'Nealian worksheet puts his name on top in block writing than shows how to make his name the correct way | Source

My 5 year Old is ready for K

Well at least I thought that last week, until the kindergarten orientation night. He is ready for kindergarten in all relative sense of the word, in fact he already has most of the kindergarten skills mastered.

There is just one little issue. He has been taught the wrong alphabet. Okay there aren't really two alphabets but that is the way kids think. He is going to walk into kindergarten next year and although he is writing sentences and stories he is going to have to relearn to write to entire alphabet.

Did you know there were two different letter formations?

I am a teacher and I have actually taught kindergarten at one point in my career. I love kindergarten but I also know my perfectionist child. He will refuse to write anything because it isn't the right way.

There are two different methodologies to handwriting. The main methodology is Zaner Bloser - this is the basic alphabet that most people learned in school and see in everyday places. It is about making lines and balls to form letters.

The second method is D'Nealian. I am not a personal fan of this method simply because of what I now see my son going through and having seen other kids go through it. They go to preschool for years learning everything they can, they are so excited to see their letter only to be told there new kindergarten room doesn't make letters that way. In theory D'Nealian is supposed to make the transition to cursive easier. After teaching intermediate grades for years I have yet to observe this. I see more kids who transition back and forth between the two in a single word than I would care to remember.

D'Nealian handwriting was introduced in the late 1970s and has been introduced in many different way throughout various school districts. Some opt to teach this as an additional handwriting before cursive. Some school district forgo teaching block print at all in order to teach this style of handwriting.

Our Summer Plan

I know my child well enough to know that he will argue with the teacher about letter formation if we don't first teach him D'Nealian before kindergarten. Our other child this would not be the case, he would go along with whatever the teacher told him and would not mind the differences. We have purchased a handwriting book and plan to work on preparing him for the transition to a new alphabet before school starts. I am not usually the parent that does extra work at home. I may be a teacher but by the time we all get home we are exhausted. Last summer we attended camp together, I the teacher and my two boys as part of the preschool class I was teaching.

Do your research

Find out which alphabet your school district uses and make sure that your child's preschool is using the alphabet method that the school district will enforce once they move on. If they don't make sure you expose your child to the correct formation of letter that they will see upon entering school.

Find resources. There are many online resources to show the difference between the alphabet and to print worksheets for your child


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