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yellow pen

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by sianteacher100, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Was that thanks intended to be sarcastic? I do hope not.

    As for yellow letters, I can say that, in my experience, the method is brilliant when done well.

    * a maximum of six children per session, with total attention of teacher or TA/NN

    * an exercise book of the tall variety with wide spaces on the bottom half and blank at the top

    * properly, neatly-formed and consistently-sized letters done beforehand, all along the line for as long as the child needs this intensive support

    * red dots to signify starting points

    * a whole row of each letter, together with red dots, written in preparation before each session

    * attention paid throughout session to pencil grip and direction

    * tie-in with phonics: top half of the page used to draw and attempt to spell things beginning to the letter

    * "marking" of attempted words done in the child's presence during the session, with a tick above for every correct letter

    * progression to just one letter [in ordinary ink] at the beginning of each page when the child is forming the letter correctly

  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Right. Above you have a few positives. Another one is that the teacher, child and parents have a proper record of the child's progress because it's all down in black and white in an exercise book.

    One last positive: the children love doing it.

    A negative? It requires proper preparation. You can't fob it off on someone whose letters are scrappy. Every letter really does need to be as beautiful as you can make it.
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    One last positive?

    It works, and it sets a pattern of correct letter-formation for the rest of a child's life.
  4. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    I would tend to use the method 1:1 or 1:2 model writing the letters in yellow with the child, talking through as you do it e.g. round up and down etc. then making sure the child starts in the correct place and follows round correctly, with a larger group of children it is easy for them to not form correctly even if they start in the right place.

    However when you feel they have got the hang of it and just need a bit more practise I have given them say a picture of a sun with yellow 's' to write over a couple of rows and then continue on their own if perhaps they had an s in their name but kept doing it back to front.

    The children do enjoy it and feel they have achieved something and as with anything practise makes perfect. With handwriting they need lots of modelling and showing how to do letters correctly but also time to practise. This can happen in their role play etc during child initiated times but for many they enjoy the more 'formal' approach to practise.

    Sianteacher100, I get the feeling you may be a lot younger than Inky and I so I would be interested to hear your negative views on this.
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Yes, MAy2, one-to-one is best. I forgot to mention modelling! How could I have done that? duh...
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sian, are you writing an essay about this?
  7. thanks for the reply.......first, the thanks was not SARCASTIC as I had noticed that i hadn't thanked anybody for reading it. It didn't have an exclamation mark at the end and had a x.
  8. I feel that allowing children to write over a yellow pen is interrupting the natural development of writing.......children will go through stages such as


    Letter-Like Symbols

    Strings of Letters........

    if the stages are interrupted or forced, development will slow down.

    They need to go through the stages in order to write independently and confidently.

  9. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    I don't think either I or Inky are trying to force children before they are ready but when they have shown the stages you describe they don't learn how to form letters correctly without it being modelled and taught to them. If left too long doing their own writing they learn lots of bad habits that are then hard to break.

    When they are really keen to write something such as their name I think using a yellow pen can be far more help than hindrance.

    I also think you will find a lot of children don't go through all the stages you suggest. Children all learn in different ways. I know a lot of children who haven't really done strings of letters as they want it to be right and know a load of letters doesn't say anything. This is not because they have overused the yellow pen. One size doesn't fit all just like learning to talk, my own daughter didn't babble, she just came out with words from 10 months.

    The important thing is for little ones to see a print enriched environment so they learn print has meaning and they want to have a go. It should all be an individual thing taken at the right pace for the child at 3,4,5 years old, there shouldn't be a rush but responding to their interest in writing.
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Personally I don't like overwriting, yellow highlighter or dotty lines but agree with everything else that inky and May2 have said.

    Children need to be taught to form letters correctly - it can not be left to chance.

    They need to know where to start and where to end and the sequence of movements in between.

    It is best don't one to one or with a very small group and the adult needs to model and correct (this applies whether the child is using large mark making materials or pencil and paper)

    Children need to be taught how to use a pencil effectively before they establish bad habits that are often difficult to break.
  12. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I haven't used the yellow pen idea, but can see how it could be helpful in some circumstances. If the child is capable of writing a letter himself (after watching an adult model the correct formation), then I don't think there's a need for him to trace an adult's letters; better for him to have the freedom of producing letters in his own handwriting and whatever size he prefers. But if a child is struggling to form the letter correctly, then having something to trace would be good practice of the movement needed. For example, I had a child this year who struggled to start her 's' by going from right to left. I guided her verbally when practising handwriting, but she might have found it easier to trace some pre-written letters instead, at least as a starting point, before trying some of her own.
  13. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I hate dotted-line letters and any traceable version that is used without the tightest supervision.

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