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Alphabet Races



Today's Snack: Have some apple slices, a banana, and a small bowl of cereal. For drink, go with the dairy group - a glass of milk!







Stopwatch, or a watch with a second hand



The better you can form the letters of the alphabet, the better you can form words. You just "see" them right mentally. The better your handwriting, the better the ideas can flow.


Good penmanship helps you "see" the letters correctly in your brain when you're writing. It's no coincidence that the kids who have the best handwriting tend to have the best grades in writing. Not always, but most of the time!


So let's practice your handwriting so that you can get your great ideas down on paper, quickly and accurately, without your hand and arm getting tired. Here's a review:


1.      Make line strokes from the top down, and from left to right. Once you've made the vertical (up and down) line or lines, lift your pencil and make the horizontal (side to side) line or lines. Never draw from bottom to top - always top to bottom, left to right. Copy each letter next to it, and practice more letters with vertical strokes in the space beneath:














2. Make ovals (circles) like a clock face. To practice, put your pencil at the 2 o'clock spot and go counter-clockwise (toward the 1, 12, 11 and so on) back up to the 2 for an a, g or o. Start at 2 o'clock, go counter-clockwise, and stop at 4 o'clock for a c. When you finish the oval for an a or a g, don't lift your pencil, but draw straight up a little bit more, and then draw down to the baseline. For the e, start at 9 o'clock, draw straight across to 3 o'clock, and then go up and around to the left around the clock, stopping at the 5 or 4. Now imagine there's a clock next to each letter, and copy each letter carefully to the right. Then write more letters with ovals and half-ovals, including capitals such as B, D, G, P, Q and U, in the space below:



a c e


g o


3.      Make line strokes from the top down, and then add ovals when the line is on the left and the oval is on the right, as with b's and p's. Make the ovals first, and then add the lines, when the oval is on the left and the line is on the right, as with d's and q's. Remember to make the ovals with your pencil pointed to an imaginary 2 o'clock on a clockface, and come to the left, down, and around. Remember, lines go from top to bottom, and draw the line or oval first if it comes first - at the left. Copy these letters next to each one. Then write the words bed, pen, dad and quick in the space below, taking care to form the letters correctly:




Line first: Line first:

b p




Oval first: Oval first:


d q




4.      Practice the alphabet five times now, forming your letters correctly. But make each alphabet a little smaller as you go along. If you can write your letters quickly, accurately, and sort of small, you can write more words and more ideas in less time. The older you get, the smaller your writing should look, but still be very easy to read. So work on it! You may have to make your alphabet in two lines for the bigger sizes. But you should be able to get the last one all on one line. Now go ahead, and make each of these five alphabets the same size as the first letter, the a. You know - abcd . . . all the way to z.


















5.      Now let's run some Alphabet Races. Get a partner. On another sheet of lined paper, write the alphabet the way you usually do. Your partner should time you with a watch or by counting "1 one-thousand." Keep this example in front of you so you can form the letters right. Write down how many seconds it took you to write the alphabet, each time. Circle any letters that you didn't make as well as the example, and try to do better on them the next time. Go ahead and write the alphabet 11 more times. Record your time in seconds on each line. What was your best time? Guess what? You win!




By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010


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