Once children have mastered the 9 pre-writing shapes (see Stage 1: Pre-writing learning mats), they should be able to start practicing all of the letters of the alphabet.
Letter formation is the sequence of movements followed by the pencil to form a letter. It is very important to ensure that your child is forming each letter correctly as practicing the correct movements over time will establish the movement in your child's motor memory making it second nature to write. Once the child's muscle memory* is established it can be very difficult to be undone.
*Muscle memory is the repetition of a task until the brain remembers how to do it automatically.
Why choose our learning mats?
- A gradual approach to learning to write designed to aid confidence and development of independent letter formation (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3)
- Our letter formation mats have clear 'starting stars' so the child knows where to begin the pencil movement and 'ending dots' so they know where to finish.
They promote learning to write by engaging visual memory and motor memory.
While it is important for the child to understand the movement required for each letter which is consolidated by tracing the letter it is also important for your child to gradually progress onto forming the letter independently. This is why our letter formation mats have adopted a 'step by step' approach designed to build confidence in your child in their writing ability.
Our stage 2 learning mats have been separated out into 'letter families'.
The letters of the alphabet can be sorted into four main 'shape families" or letter families' which are defined by the common starting points and movements that are required to form them.
- down and off in another direction - l, t i
- down and retrace upwards - r, b, h
- anti-clockwise round - c, o, a
- zigzag letters -v, x, w
How to use the letter formation mats?
Step 1: Point to the image and encourage the child to say the letter sound (eg. "c, c, c for cat")
Step 2: Ask the child to "start at the star" and trace the letter with their finger.
Step 3: Ask the child to trace the letter with their pen. "Start at the star" and follow the directional arrows to the end dot. Some children find making up a rhyme really helpful (eg. start at the star and go around the curly caterpillar).
Step 4-5: Ask the child to trace the letter with their pen. "Start at the star" and follow the directional arrows to the end dot. (each step is progressively harder with the aim to build independent writing of the letter.
Step 6: See if your child can "Start at the star" and form the letter all by themselves!
- "Starter Star' so the child knows where they should begin
- Directional arrows can be added if required (select on checkout)
- Recommended for ages 3 years and above
- Help your preschooler learn to write their name + practice letter formation
- Recommended by primary school teachers
- Great reviews by parents
- Tested by my own two children to ensure the mats are fun and engaging!
To purchase a triangular pen perfect for correct finger positioning click here
**Use any felt tip pen and wipe away with or damp cloth