Add Visual Meaning to Make Your Child a Better Letter Learner
On their own, young children learn to identify 26 classmates quickly and easily
With help, it takes one to two years for children to learn to identify 26 uppercase letters.
Abundant visual information makes classmate identification easy
For a young child, classmate identification is easy because classmates present a super-abundance of understandable visual information.
Classmates have many visually understandable elements in common. All classmates have hair, skin, and eyes and many more parts in common that children understand.
And each classmate presents variations of these common elements. Emily is tall with brown curly hair, medium skin, and blue eyes. Juan is short with straight blond hair, light skin, and brown eyes.
The relatable and unique visual characteristics of each classmate help a child identify one classmate from another on their own essentially instantaneously.
Insufficient visual information makes letter identification difficult
Unlike classmates, letters offer very little understandable visual information.
For young children, each printed letter presents as a solid, whole unit without perceivable common elements or parts. The lines and their arrangement that underlie each letter's shape are not visually perceivable.
Without knowledge of letter form, the twenty-six letters are confusing, visually meaningless line shapes making them difficult to distinguish and identify.
Learning about the lines letters are made of makes letter identification easy and fast (and fun)
Letter-form learning is a STEM-based instructional approach for understanding what the uppercase letters are made of that helps young children distinguish and identify the letters.
With STEM-based letter-form learning young children learn:
- The four kinds of letter lines: straight, circle, diagonal and U-shaped.
- The lines each letter is made of.
- How each letter’s lines are arranged.
With knowledge of the letter forms, it becomes easier and faster (and fun) for children to distinguish and identify the letters.
How letter-form learning works: letter deconstruction and letter building
STEM letter-form learning uses the processes of letter deconstruction and letter building to increase visual information of the letters and aid letter identification.
Letter deconstruction: the four kinds of letter lines
With STEM letter-form learning, letters are deconstructed into their common elements—the four kinds of letter lines: straight, circle, diagonal and U-shaped, from which every uppercase letter can be made.
Letter building: build the letters, learn the letters
With hands-on letter building, visual information and understanding of the letter forms is increased. When children build the letters, they learn to know the letter lines and how each letter is made. When the form of the letters is understood, it becomes easy to distinguish and identify the letters.
Just as a child uses visual information to identify Maria, Malik, Joshua and Angela, with increased visual information provided through letter-form learning, a child can distinguish and name B, M, R and Z.
How the letters are built
To build the letters, children follow engaging, age-appropriate letter “recipes” which describe each letter’s lines, the sequence of their placement, and how each line is arranged.
Following the letter “recipe” instructions and using three-dimensional letter line manipulatives, children build the letters.
STEM letter-form learning for PRINTING READINESS--the missing step
Today, basic print learning success rates are at an all-time low. In response to the problem, some schools have simply abandoned print instruction altogether. But learning to print is important. Printing learning problems have been linked to reading and writing problems.
There is a solution: STEM-based letter-form learning.
Problems with current print instruction
Typically, with pencil to paper, children begin to learn to print. With no understanding of letter form: of the kinds of letter lines and of each letter’s lines and how they are arranged, children are presented with confusing printing instructions that use such things as arrows, numbers and complicated directions.
Printing readiness—filling the printing learning gap
STEM-based letter-form learning for printing readiness fills the printing learning gap making learning to print legibly and fluently easy, fast and fun.
With STEM-based letter-form learning in place, when little hands are ready, when young children’s motor skills are sufficiently developed and children put pencil to paper, they already know and have experienced letter building. Knowing how each letter is made, all that is left to do is to write the lines.