Letter writing is not just a matter of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, although of course these are important. An article I was reading about the discipline of form drawing in Waldorf education by Rosemary Gebert made an excellent point that drawing is a motion, a movement. This little bit of knowledge inspired me to create this activity for Chobie.
If drawing is based on movements, learning to write letters is also about using a particular movement to create letters on paper. So my idea was that using exaggerated movements in the shapes of letters helps when it’s time to transfer the movement to paper.
We started by making letters with our ribbon wands.
Then we made some letter shapes with our bodies. Since we were working on A, B, and C that week, this proved more challenging than I had anticipated. Can anyone make a “B” with just their body?
Finally we traced them on giant writing practice paper that I made from a roll of paper, taped to the wall.
Chobie is the kind of kid who is reluctant to try something until he can do it perfectly. So I held his hand to help him write most of the letters.
Gebert’s article goes on to describe how particular movements and the forms they make lead us to feel a certain way. I thought this was an interesting concept, especially applied to the concept of letter writing. Since we use these motions so regularly, the idea that they may be influencing our emotional state has powerful implications.
Do you have any creative ideas for teaching letter writing? Or stories about helping perfectionist kids?