While technology is a beautiful tool that can be used in a variety of ways, we are never going to get away from writing. After distance learning due to COVID, I noticed many of my students had handwriting not even a doctor could read. It was driving me crazy! So, in the back of my cupboard I found this fantastic printing letters lesson. Not only did this point out obvious issues my students had, it also helped them improve their writing throughout the school year. How does this lesson work? Easy! Just follow these steps below.
Starting Your Printing Lesson
To begin, you will need to make a table for each letter of the alphabet and make a copy for each student. They will be putting these into their printed lesson interactive notebook. three rows, you write both the uppercase and lowercase of the same letter three times. Then, on the fourth row, you write a word that features the letter you are working on. You cut the row out and students put the strip in their notebook. Then going across the page, they mimic what you wrote.
Because there are 26 letters, you will have a total of 13 tables because you can put 2 letters on each page. I would have some extras on hand of the copies just in case students need more practice with their printing lesson.
What Order to Use?
While many teachers might want to go in alphabetical order, I like to order my letters into categories. First you have your line letters like “N,” “T,” and “L.” After that, I go to my rainbow letters like “B”. I end with “C” and “S” because they seem to be the hardest to do for students. Using this order for my printing lesson helps students build confidence. However, you can put your letters in whatever order you want.
Teaching Printing Lessons
When you first start, some students might struggle to know which line to write on in their notebook. This is part of the problem when it comes to printing. Students have very little knowledge on how to use basic school supplies like a notebook. This lesson helps with that along with printing skills.
If students struggle with writing at first, help them by marking in their notebooks. Make sure they keep practicing until they have satisfactory letters and words! Then, they can move to the next letters.
When to Use this Printing Lesson?
Printing is such an important skill that you could make it a lesson that you do deliberately every day. Otherwise, you can use it as a morning starter, a bell ringer before reading or language arts time, or as an early finisher activity. If you use this as an early finisher activity, it might be harder for some students to have growth, but it is an option.
What about Fast Finishers?
Every activity has a fast finisher or sometimes a few. If your students get done with the print lesson early, you can have them start practicing writing various poems that feature each letter. I found poems a retired teacher gave me that came from Richard Scarry Books. Who didn’t love that little worm?
After students write their poem down, I let them draw an illustration underneath the poem. Students loved this activity. I loved it too because they got to practice printing, reading, and were able to be creative. In addition, it took the stress out of journaling. The only thing students seemed to struggle with is the structure of the poem. Therefore, you might need to do a mini lesson on how poems are structured.
Assessing Printed Poems
When students move to the step of writing down poems, I check for several aspects in this portion of the printing lesson. This includes: letters being on lines, the spacing of words, capitalizing the first letter of each line, the size of upper and lowercase letters, how dangling lines sit on the line below, and ending punctuation. All of these skills are important for writing in general and I try to enforce them and focus on them when writing the poems.
Printing might seem like a part of the past. However, it is still an important part of learning! No matter what, students are going to have to know how to write even if it’s just for simple things. Using this easy and inexpensive printing lesson is a great way to catch students up and work on their fine motor skills.