The method of printing taught here should help prevent or remediate letter reversals and is one that will make the transfer to cursive writing easy. There are two basic rules to remember: 1) We always use lower case letters unless the rules of English tell us otherwise. 2) Each letter is made with one continuous line except the dotted letters i and j and the crossed letters f, t, and x.
A clock face should be attached to each child's desk. Cut unpatterned textured fabric-backed wallpaper into 5" squares. Use a permanent marker to trace a circle on each square and add numerals. These clock faces can be attached to the child's desk with a frame of masking tape. For right-handed children, the clock should be at the right side of the desk and for left-handed children, it should be at the left. Prior to teaching children, draw a large demonstration circle on the chalkboard and position the numerals 12 (top), 6 (bottom), 9 (left) and 3 (right); then fill in the other numerals. In this way the children will always be aware of the positions of the numbers on the clock. Have the children trace with one or two fingers on their clocks as letters are taught.
This technique can be very helpful both in learning to print numerals neatly and in preventing reversals. It needs to be used only if the teacher desires uniformity or when there is difficulty. If trouble persists, have the child print with the index finger in sand or with the index and middle fingers on texture such as rough wallpaper or taut fabric.
Standard primary manuscript paper with guidelines should be used. Letters have been divided into groups which have similarities in basic strokes:
c, a, d, g, o, q All are made by using the clock face as a base. Start at 2 o'clock and go around counter-clockwise to 4 (makes a c). Next teach a in the same manner but continue all the way around to the 2 and drop to the baseline. Talk about the clock being similar to the first floor of a house. The largest parts of all letters fit into the first floor but d makes a trip upstairs and comes back down again; g goes to the basement and rolls backward; o can be started at 2 o'clock to match the others or can be started at the 12 and continue around counter-clockwise; q goes to the basement and hops forward.
l, h, k, m, n, p, r Use the house concept. All these letters are formed by using the basic motion of l, then retracing that line almost to the dotted line of manuscript paper, humping and completing each letter as necessary. Attic starters are l, h, k but m, n, r stay on the first floor; and p makes a trip to the basement first, then comes back up and does a flip on the first floor. Note: A child's natural development tends to make him or her work from the self outward; therefore, many children tend to work from the bottom up. Children who do this need to be taught to make the letters their friends - to reach out and bring the forms toward themselves ("We don't push our friends away. We want them to come to us.")
u, w, y All start at 11 o'clock, curve at the bottom, go up to 1, and move on from there.
f, i, j, t, x are two-stroke letters. Using the house concept, f wakes up upstairs and flips backward on the way downstairs, then crosses from left to right; i stays on first floor but his hat is upstairs, j starts like i but goes to the basement and rolls backward like g; t comes down from upstairs and crosses from left to right, and x spends all of his time on the first floor and slants from left to right and then from right to left.
b, e, s, v, z must be learned individually. b starts upstairs with the l stroke, makes a right angle at the bottom, and curves around to meet its middle. Using the clock, e starts at 9 o'clock, goes over to 3, then up and around counter-clockwise to 4; s starts at 2 o'clock can follow 2-1-12-11-10-4-5-6-7-8; v goes 11-6-1; and z is 11-1-7-5.
A Starting at the top guideline, make a line slanting backwards, stopping at the bottom guideline. Go to the top again and make another line slanting forward to the bottom guideline. At the dotted guideline, make a line from left to right, joining slanted lines.
B Start with a tall man. (When we talk about a 'tall man,' we mean a line starting at the top guideline which moves straight down to the bottom guideline.) Starting at the top, add a bump which meets tall man at the middle and another bump which meets his toes. Lay him on his side and you have a Bactrian camel's humps.
C Use the clock face; start at 2, go counter-clockwise to the 4.
D Male a tall man. Go back to the top and make a hump on his right side. Lay him on his side and you have a Dromedary camel's hump.
E Make a tall man; make lines across at the top, middle, and bottom guidelines.
F Make a tall man; make lines across at the top and center guidelines.
G Using the clock, start at 2, go counter-clockwise to 3 and left to the center.
H Football goalposts Make 2 tall men and a line across at the center guideline.
I Make a tall man (Add serifs if you want to distinguish it from a lower case l).
J Use the clock. Start at 1, go straight down to 5, 6, 7, 8 (and possibly 9 - your choice).
K Make a tall man. Go back to the top and make a slanting line in from the top guideline to the middle and slant back out to the bottom guideline.
L Make a tall man and, without lifting the pencil, turn the corner and go across the bottom.
M Make a tall man. Go back to the top and make a v connected to the first tall man and add another tall man.
N Make a tall man, a leaning man, and a foot holder (The second tall man keeps the leaning man from sliding down.).
O Use the clock. Start at 12 and go counter-clockwise back to 12.
P Make a tall man. Make a bump from the top of the tall man to his middle.
Q Use the clock. Start at 12 and go counter-clockwise back to 12. Add a slanted line on the lower right.
R Make a tall man. Make a bump from the top of the tall man to his middle, then a line slanted right to the bottom.
S Use the clock. Start at 2 and go to 1, 12, 11, 10, 4, 5, 6 7, 8.
T Make a tall man. Put a stright board on top of his head from left to right.
U Use the clock. Start at 11 and go straight down to 7, 6, 5, and stright back up to 1.
V Use the clock - 11, 6, 1.
W Make two Vs, being careful not to lift the pencil between them.
X Starting at the top guideline slant forward to the bottom guideline and, again starting at the top, make a slanted line backward across the first line.
Y Make a V in the top half of guidelines and add a short man beneath.
Z Use the clock. Go from 11 to 1 to 7 to 5.
Use the same clocks which were used for printing letters. To make:
0 Start at 12, go around counter-clockwise back to 12.
1 Start at 12, move straight down to 6.
2 Two doesn't like himself so he starts at 10, goes clockwise to 11-12-1-2-3, cuts across to 8, then back across to 4.
3 Three follow two so he also starts at 10 and goes 11-12-1-2, cuts across to 9 and back to 4-5-6-7-8.
4 Four follow 11-9-3. Lift pencil and go 12 to 6.
5 Five follow 11-9 and humps over to 3-4-5-6-7. Lift pencil and go across from 11 to 1.
6 Six follows 12-9-8-7-6-5 and loops back to 8.
7 Seven follow 11-1-7.
8 Eight follows 1-12-11-5-6-7-1.
9 Nine follows 1-12-11-10, swings back to 1 and down to 6.
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