Your child is ready for letter tracing worksheets? Check out these tips so your child can learn to write the letters the most effective way.
Last weekend, I checked out the handwriting and letter tracing worksheets at the dollar store. They are just like the ones on the internet.
Rows and rows of small letters crammed onto one page.
After 11 years of teaching, I know asking a child to write the letter K twenty times forms really bad habits. Children get bored and rush.
As a mom, I know it will cause needless frustration. No kindergarten student needs to write their numbers 100 times on one worksheet.
Still, you know your child needs to learn to trace the alphabet, so what should you do?
Skip tiny letter tracing worksheets and find larger size worksheets instead.
Here’s why large-size letter tracing worksheets are the best for your preschooler (and older child, too).
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Why Use Large Size Letter Tracing Worksheets?
As you scroll the internet, you’re going to see tons of tiny letter tracing worksheets. Those aren’t the best.
This is a fact:
Learning to trace letters and learning to write in a small space are separate skills.
First, your child needs to form a letter correctly.
Then, they can work into small spaces and smaller-sized letter tracing over time.
When your child is beginning to use letter tracing worksheets, bigger is better.
Use worksheets where the letter takes up the whole page. Once your child has mastered correct letter formation, they can move into smaller spaces.
This is the time to form good habits.
What are the Writing Skills Needed for Letter Tracing?
While using letter tracing worksheets, children need these foundational writing skills:
- hand-eye coordination
- good posture
- bilateral coordination
- hand control
Here’s what each skill means:
Hand-eye coordination is when your child can use their eyes to guide their hand. When completing a letter tracing worksheet, your child needs to see the directions in order to get their hand to write it correctly.
Using a large size letter tracing worksheet makes it easier to see and properly direct the hand.
Believe it or not, having good core strength helps a child write. Children need to be able to support their bodies with their core muscles.
Then their arms and hands are free to do the letter tracing worksheet.
When I taught, I noticed as children tired with endless tracing, their posture suffered and so did their handwriting.
With bilateral coordination, your child will hold the piece of paper with one hand and write with the other.
It’s easier to maintain this skill when your child has fewer letters to trace.
Your child’s hand muscles have to be well-developed enough to control how he or she will trace a line. This is why tiny letters are so difficult for many children to trace.
These skills are developed as children learn writing. It’s important to avoid overwhelming them with endless tracing so they can also practice these skills.
At What Age Should a Child Know the Alphabet?
So now you know the writing skills required for tracing, but does your child also know the alphabet?
Before your child can trace letters, your child should be able to identify the letters by name. Most children learn the alphabet between 3 and 4 years old.
- Related: Learning the Alphabet
So if your four-year-old still does not know all the letters of the alphabet, this is the age to help your child learn the letters.
Your child will continue to practice the alphabet as a five-year-old in kindergarten so don’t panic if your child is still developing this skill.
Remember with all developmental milestones, there is a huge range of ages for when a child will know the alphabet.
But, trust your parenting gut. If you are concerned that your child should know the alphabet, make sure to speak with your child’s medical provider or teacher.
At What Age Should a Child Write the Alphabet?
So once your child can recognize and identify the letters, then they can also begin to write the alphabet.
Writing the alphabet is a developmental milestone for preschool-age children, but mastery is not expected!
Letter Writing for 4-year-olds
Most children can copy a few letters from a model. Letter tracing can get children ready to copy a letter.
Letter Writing for 5-year-olds
By age five, children should be able to write a few letters on their own. Usually, children can write their names by this age and form those letters without copying.
But again, don’t panic if your five-year-old child cannot write the alphabet.
It is a Common Core Standard to write all capital and lowercase letters in kindergarten. Your child will get a lot of practice in school.
Letter Writing for 6-year-olds
Your six-year-old should be able to write all the capital and lowercase letters. If there is a problem, make sure to contact the teacher.
Teaching Letter Tracing to Your Child
When you’re teaching letter tracing to your child, start without a pencil!
You can use a finger or drive toy cars on Alphabet Roads. Children need to have muscle memory for how to form a letter before you put a pencil in their hands.
Use Multiple Senses
Letter tracing worksheets will also be most effective when your child uses multiple senses during the practice:
- See the letter (visual)
- Feel how it’s formed (tactile)
- Hear instructions on how to form it (auditory).
Multi-sensory letter tracing improves memory because the brain can recall it better. As your child forms the letter, give prompts like, “L is big line, little line.”
Use Broken Crayons
Once your child is ready to trace a pencil, try broken crayons instead. They force your child to use a proper pencil grip.
- Related: Pencil Grip for Preschoolers (and older kids!)
Encourage your child to rainbow trace with the six rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. If you’re using a large size letter tracing worksheet, this will allow your child to get more practice.
Practicing 6 times correctly is much better than practicing 20 times and developing sloppy habits.
Using Letter Tracing Worksheets
You can grab these letter tracing worksheets in the Printable Parents shop.
This set includes full-color and black and white worksheets for your child to drive their cars on. It includes capital letters, lower case, letters, and numbers!
They are super easy to use
- print the colored copies of the capital letters, lowercase letters or numbers
- invite your child to trace
- Say the verbal prompt so your child hears how to form the letters
The black and white copies are perfect to:
- bind into a book
- take on the go for letter tracing with cars at the doctor or restaurants
- use crayons or markers to trace the roads
These letter tracing worksheets instruct your child to use crayons to rainbow trace the large size letter.
- Print the letter tracing worksheets
- Bind with the included cover to make a workbook if desired.
- Just spend 5 minutes a day!
Final Thoughts on Tracing Letters
If tracing letter worksheets feel like a chore for your child, that’s a good sign you need to address an underlying issue.
It could be your child is:
- overwhelmed by the quantity
- needs to improve pencil grip
- hasn’t learned to form the letters before tracing
All of these potential issues are solved by using large size letter tracing worksheets.
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