Recognizing letters, capitals, small, doesn't matter?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by anna9868, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I went to volunteer at my daughter's 3 year old classroom in preschool.

    When they come in the teacher have all their names on the cards which they should recognize and put in a basket. I was surprised that those names are written in a mixture of letters, meaning, they start with a capital, follow by all small letters. When I asked, the teacher told me that's how they've been taught, that it is right to start right away with capitals and small, this way the kids will have easier time recognizing different letters in the future.

    I don't know, I'm not convinced with that argument. I believe it's very hard for 3 year old kids to start recognizing differently shaped letters. D and d, N and n

    Oh, another thing is that more than half of the kids in that room speak another language at home, and their English is not yet as good as their native language (including my daugther).

    I'd like to hear the opinion of other preschool teachers.
     
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  3. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I am starting with the program "Handwriting without Tears" (LOVE the program!) and it was the comment of the woman who trained us was to start with ALL caps. This was different than the teachers in the school had been doing.

    I agree. I taught my own kids their names in caps first. They wrote "BETH" and "FRANKIE" LONG before they ever wrote "Beth" and "Frankie".
     
  4. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I'm not really with you guys on this one. Words are not all spelt in capitals and I end up having to 'unteach' children who have been taught to write their name in all capitals. Their mothers had the best of intentions I know. Capitals are easier to write for little ones, however, small letters start in different places and go in different directions. I too teach children who are ESL, and have problems, some write a small letter any way so that it just looks 'right'. I believe children are very capable learners, print is everywhere and therefore, small letters are just as appropriate as capitals.

    I would be more concerned if teachers taught that capital letters are the name of the letter and small letters make the sound, hence a child might write 'bAbE' (baby).
     
  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 16, 2009

    We use the Mixed letters in our preschool program, capital first and lower case after. I find that the children do just fine after a while. This is how print appears in books and on signs, so children this age are used to seeing the lowercase letters. Learning to work with them isn't a giant challenge.

    It would be harder for them if they were trying to learn capitals at 4 and then learn the lower case when the Kindergarten teachers are trying to get them to string letters into words.
     
  6. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I always write things as they appear in our world. For example, names ALWAYS start with an uppercase letter so I always write them that way. Sentences always start with an uppercase letter so we write it that way.

    Also, when my kids do letter sorts with magazines or magnets, I include letters that are different in different fonts so they see how those letters might look differently.
     
  7. Have Fun

    Have Fun New Member

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I am a pre-k teacher and I think a mix is the best way to go. At this age they are more than capable of learning lowercase and capital letters. As others have said children see lowercase letters all the time. I am a really big fan of the take it slow and review often approach. So we will spend a week on consanants 2 weeks on vowels and then review for another week every three letters. I have taught in Kindergarten and it is normal for emergent writers (begining writers) to mix thier lowercase and captitals up in the middle of words at first. Constantly seeing this is not how words are written it makes the transition from to early writer much easier
     
  8. K3 teacher

    K3 teacher Companion

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I would only teach capital first and then lowercase. I talk to my parents about this alot. That is the way we write names. When we talk about letters in class I always say things that Dog starts with D. D can look like this or this. We refer to the letter chart throughout the room and they all have a capital and lowercase with the picture.
     
  9. Miller59

    Miller59 Companion

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I'm in the Mixed letter camp. I think it's best to introduce things as the children will actually encounter them. When I write I model correct letter formation and follow all conventions for sentence structure. I have mostly 4 yr old's in my group. I am now asking them to work on using one capital and the rest lower case when they write their names. I accept any approximation at this point. I have 2 3 yr old's and with them I model and encourage using caps and lower case, but don't have the same expectations.
     
  10. Oboemom

    Oboemom Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Prek teacher here too. I have to go with the mixed letters. I teach uppercase first letter of their names and lowercase for the rest. Everywhere the children's names are written it is with mixed letters.

    In the beginning of the session, my alphabet games are all uppercase and I then gradually start to add the lowercase letters. It has been working out pretty well.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I think anything written or modeled by the teacher should be written correctly unless it is during a specific LA lesson on sounding words out. It is much harder to unteach writing in all caps when they come to kindergarten. If anything, I think teaching all the lowercase letters makes more sense because 99% of anything written is mostly lower case letters, not the other way around.
     
  12. greengables

    greengables Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Mixed letters here, too. But I teach 4 and 5 year olds. I'm fine if they already know how to print their names in caps, tho.
     
  13. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Mixed letters here too. I have gone to two conferences that said k teachers would rather not have preschool teachers teach names if they teach it in all caps - it is too hard for kids to relearn. Most of us teach what would be found in authentic literature. All caps is not the way our books are so why would we teach that?
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I already answered about the letters, but I am wondering what you meant by this? In regards to learning letters or something else?
     
  15. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I teach K, not preschool, but I definitely agree with using mixed letters. I taught my son to write his name first letter capital, the rest lowercase when he was 3.
     
  16. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 16, 2009

    yes, to the letters. I wanted to hear the experience of other preschool teachers regarding letter recognition. I don't count my own preschool experience, I only taught 2 year olds for one year and I didn't do any letters at all.
     
  17. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2009

    Yes print is everywhere & kids should be exposed. It's not rocket science, kids figure out you don't write the funny "a" you see in print. I taught my son in all caps because it was easier for him & less frustrating. Little did I know then he had a fine motor & learning disability. What was worse was K was doing denelian (sp?) which was suppose to help with cursive, which was never taught at his school. To this day the majority of students in my son's grade have horrible printing. Now that I teach EC sp ed I use Handwriting without tears & I start with caps. I'd rather have my students get the concept, lesson the frustration and then move to lower case. Fine motor wise it is a more natural progression. And guess what? K teachers are going to get a large chunk of kids with these same issues. I think it needs to be looked at at the individual, at the prek level, of who is struggling & go from there. I think if this was communicated to some K teachers better there would be more understanding all around. Remember too, there's a push down of curriculum going on. K is "academic" now, very little "developmental" going on so moving from PreK, which is developmental, can be a sticky transition.

    As far as letter recognition, we don't even expext it until late 4's early 5's based on developmentally. Sure, you have 2's & 3's who are doing it. Some kids pick it up sooner. Remember kids recognize "symbols" first (McDonald's anyone?) & before that pictures, & before that finger play & familiar routines. All these are pre lit skills & should be developed in sequence. So sure, the more kids are read to the more they know those little blocks of squiggles mean something. So while you can teach & expose all you want, the fact remains reading skills are really formally developing by ages 5 & 6. Again, exceptions. But also statistics show that students taught to read very early don't usually have an advantage over their peers by 3rd grade. It kind of evens out. Where they do lack however is in analytical skills. Which you get by (one way) exploring things in prek & not being taught by rote. Which is what K teachers are being told to do because education isn't about learning anymore, it's about passing a test. Ooops...didn't realize I stepped on my soapbox. As for me
    (0-3 spe ed) We have print everywhere, have names on cubbies & do very little regarding letters. We are more focused on sounds and language. A few typically developing students may begin to recognize their name or first letter, but it is not the focus.
     
  18. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 17, 2009

    Very good answer. And although we do mixed print, I must admit we work WAY more with sounds than we do with the letter shapes at all.
     
  19. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 17, 2009

    What an interesting answer, thanks! Kind of reflects some of my thoughts, only yours are much more organized. I don't even want to start on the topic of handwriting. For the lack of a better experience, I sort of accepted the idea not to expect anyone in school to work on a good handwriting, that's parents' responsibilities. (This is just my opinion as I look at my sons' handwriting and remind myself that I should be working on it )

    I've heard about that "Handwriting without tears" so many times now, where do you guys buy it? And where can we read about it? I understand it's a series of books, out of print, so on Amazon.com for example, there is no info about what each book is, how many books are in a series
     
  20. Miller59

    Miller59 Companion

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    Oct 18, 2009

    Handwriting Without Tears isn't out of print. Check this out
    http://www.hwtears.com/

    After reading TeachWildThings' post I have to edit my original answer and say that I don't work that much on actual writing either. I do work on first names -- and I have a few who are ready to add their last names -- but that's about it.
     
  21. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Oct 18, 2009

    We also teach mixed letters for names. In addition to that, our state curriculum for pre-k and kindergarten states that children are to learn the lower-case letters first, as those are the ones they will see in print. They might see a letter card that has Aa and a picture of an apple on it, butwhen the teacher writes something on paper for them, she will only use that capital A if it's supposed to be capitalized; otherwise, she will use a.
     
  22. darlin77

    darlin77 Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2009

    I teach names the way they will be written, capital first, then all lowercase. I taught my own children this way and they had no problems with it and I never had to reteach them how to write their names. My mother-in-law is a Kindergarten teacher and said she wished preschools would do more focus on lowercase letters because a lot of kids come to kindergarten writing in all uppercase.

    I agree that it makes more sense to teach them lowercase first if anything because that is what 95% of the print they will come in contact with will be.
     
  23. skyone

    skyone Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2009

    I agree with the mixed case. When they go on to school they have to be retaught everything if it is all caps. My daughter learned all caps on her name at her preschool and still 2nd semester of 1st grade she was still doing all caps much against the teachers request. She also has a learning disability which made it even more difficult to relearn to write her name, not to mention she could not recognize her name when it was printed in mixed case.

    My 3 year class is required to meet the pre-k standards, e.g. recognize all letters sounds, be able to write all letters and their name.
     
  24. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 21, 2009

    WEll, I know I put in the title of this thread "Recognizing letters". However, now that I think about all this, what about writing? I'm not talking about a formal kind of writing that kids start doing in K/1st grade.

    But we do hope that kids learn write their names and simply letters (or, let's put it this way, most kids do try to form letters before age 5).
    And that's where I guess it would be tough for the kids to form small letters (look at 'a' compared to 'A', 'e' compared to 'E')
     

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