Practicing Lower Case Letters

My four year old son is incredibly excited for back to school, but sadly there is a two and a half week spread between when big sister started school and when his pre-school begins.  While keeping Noah happy without Emma presents an incredible parenting challenge (last year he asked me to do his hair with her barrettes by about day three…), it also gives me an opportunity to play school with him here at home.  Noah loves to read and does so fluently, thinks numbers and math games are fun even asking me the answer to infinity minus google, but avoids writing unless it’s critical such as creating a “No Girls Allowed” sign or a love note to his mother on a magnadoodle.  I’m taking this week of alone time as my chance to sneak a little writing into our week.

Mission: Encourage 4 year old to practice lower case letters

Method: Trick him into believing he is completing a “challenge”

Materials: Markers, paper, a pencil, assorted stickers

We started with a color challenge, otherwise known as a way to get Noah to write the names of the colors.  He believed that he was showing me his ability to read the color names, when in fact I was forcing him to write lower case letters in order to prove his reading skill.  I wrote each color  name in pencil, handed him the appropriate markers, and asked him to trace the color name in the matching color, showing that he was able to read the word.  It worked!  He zipped through the first activity boasting that of course he could read those simple words.

The next challenge would be difficult, so I pulled out every mom’s secret weapon – stickers. We have a bin in the craft area of our kitchen that is filled with assorted stickers from smilies to princesses to return address labels I didn’t actually order.  I chose a few stickers of objects that I knew Noah could read and set them to the side, then I wrote the names of the objects in the stickers in pencil.  I told Noah that the challenge was to show me he could read by placing the sticker next to the matching word and then tracing the word.  Of course I really just wanted him to trace the words. Success!  Again he very proudly completed the task with no complaining and only a slight eye roll to show his disapproval.

As parents we do what we can to encourage our children to learn and practice new skills.  In the end, I think Noah was pleased with himself.  He quietly took the papers into the kitchen during dinner preparation time to show his dad the homework he had done today.  Clearly, he thought he had won the challenge…and you know what?  I’ll let him have this one.

More Resources

Alphabet Printables

Super Teacher Worksheets

Language Arts Worksheets

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  • amy byrd

    We are teaching our homeschooled son with super heros. He is into all kinds of them so we use that to keep him going. He is doing really good with it. He learns about a super hero the letters in their name and then we watch a video of that super hero on line for his reward.

  • I go through this too with my three year old. I have been packing a lunch every day for her in her Dora lunchbox even though we eat it at home.

    I also pack her a backpack with a few coloring sheets which we take with us when I go to pick up my other two kids from school. Then when everyone gets home, we all work on homework.

    Surprisingly, this has worked very well so far. So is so excited and feels like a big girl.

  • My guy (now starting 1st grade next week), was quite similar. Read early, but wasn’t a big fan of writing / coloring until that pre-K year when it clicked for him. He was my first though, so I didn’t 100% realize what other kids his age were doing until we started doing more craft playgroups with MOMS Club. His sister, now about to turn 4, is much more proficient with a pencil/crayon than he was at that age!

  • Thanks so much for the Super Teacher Work Sheet link! I have put it under my favorites! My 4 year old needs to brush up and I know have a few ideas of how to make it fun. Thanks!