read alouds

Letter Review and Handwriting Practice

The beginning of first grade is so special. It's also a time when we have to get the ball rolling. There is so much to teach in first grade, but there is a lot to review too! At the beginning of first grade, I always notice that there are students that need a little refresher on a few important skills:

1. Letter formation

2. Letter identification

3. Letter sounds

4. Simple sentence structure

5.... building stamina

6. Finger SPACES!

I created a handwriting journal that covers all 6 of those concepts. In about 25 minutes a day, for 26 days, you are able to hit multiple areas with the ideas I am going to outline below.

I created the Handwriting Practice journal to have students practice their handwriting. I added sentences to it to learn about sentence structure too.  When I began using this resource in my classroom, it quickly dawned on me that I can use this precious time to review letter identification and letter sounds. I used the Handwriting Practice journal to do all of that.

I wanted to give you a glimpse into how I cover all 5 concepts in just 20 minutes. Here is how my lessons go:

1. Introduce the letter for the day. I write the letter in the middle of a blank piece of colorful paper. We review the sound. Then, we come up with words that begin with that letter. I write the words on the paper. We try to take up as much space as possible. This pages are hung up on our classroom walls and stay there for the year. The students refer to them ALL of the time. Student made word walls for the win!

2. I model the formation of the letter using a dry erase sleeve and the traceable a large letter that is included in the product. After I model it, a student comes up and does it in front of the class. They LOVE this. 

3. I present 4-5 scrambled words that when unscrambled create a sentence. We identify the word that begins with a capital and we identify the punctuation in the sentence. We place those words in their correct spots. We read the words and then place the other scrambled words in their correct places. The students read the sentence. 

4. We discuss the meaning of the sentence (simple comprehension). We draw a picture on the whiteboard of the sentence trying to include a setting and the characters. I model & eventually just remind how to write the sentence using finger spaces. I also tell students that when they are practicing their letters, to also use finger spaces. Then, I don't have to give them a certain "number" of letters to write.

4. We review what we just learned and then students begin to independently work on their handwriting page. I set my timer for 15 minutes and encourage them to work the whole time. This is where students work on their working stamina. At the beginning, 15 minutes is a little long, so we take brain breaks after about 5-7 minutes.

That's how simple it is to fit ALL of those concepts in, in about 20-25 minutes. Each day is predictable and effective. This is one of my favorite things to use at the beginning of the year. All of these skills need repetition and this is SO practical and effective.

If you're interested in this file, click below!

If you want FREE word wall printables with pictures to use to review letter sounds with your students, click the picture below!

1 comment

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