Have your children ever forgotten how to write an alphabet or number?
Zach is 4.5 years old now and has been practising letters and numbers since he was about 2 years old using our Montessori sandpaper letters and numbers. After that, the Montessori sand tray helped him to overcome his confidence in handwriting freestyle. He is now at the stage where he has a good pencil grip and is confident in his handwriting. He is sounding out words and spelling them as he goes.
However, he does completely forget the strokes involved in writing a certain letter or number every once in a while. He also tends to produce mirror-image letter reversals.
Both of these occurrences are completely normal in a young child. However, because he is at the stage where he is able to print freestyle, it does become frustrating and inconvenient for him (and me) when he is unable to produce an alphabet or number that he needs. There were times when he had to interrupt me when I was busy cooking or in the bathroom.
I especially don’t like how this takes away from his concentration of working in the moment.
So to help him be independent and to foster good reference habits, I decided to create alphabet and number reference cards. It is printed on card stock for durability and bound together with a loose binder ring. We keep this on our shelves where Zach can easily reach and refer to it whenever he has forgotten how to print an alphabet or number.
Regardless, this is an easy solution that has totally transformed the process of writing for Zach. Instead of depending on me for help, he can now easily reach for these cards whenever he needs to. We used to use the sandpaper letters and numbers for this purpose, however he seems to have grown out of them. Also perhaps transitioning to reference cards may foster an early habit of referencing a printed material? Hopefully this builds a good momentum for the future when he has to reference other books, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, etc.
Here are the links to the free printables for the alphabet and number cards in case you want to print them for your own use. If you are looking to purchase instead, I recommend these beautiful and durable alphabet and number wallet cards by So Awesome.
Update: A wonderful reader asked if I could create a cursive version of the alphabet cards, and I’m more than happy to do so! So here you go — alphabet cards (cursive).