Question about upper case/lower case letters

Preschool readiness skills (birth to age 5) and the common developmental concerns of young children.

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WWMama
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Question about upper case/lower case letters

Postby WWMama » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:25 pm

When my oldest showed interest in learning letters, I was told (wish I could remember who told me) that in public school (I'm in MN) they teach all upper case letters first and don't worry about the lower case at all. So (thinking they were all powerful and mighty at the time) went ahead and started doing that with my son. Problem is, now I have a 4 1/2 year old who can read just about anything you put in front of him if it is written in upper case, and is totally confused and frustrated (he's a perfectionist) when trying to read a book that is both upper case and lower case.

So the obvious answer is that I really need to be teaching lower case to him since he's totally gung ho about sounding out words and reading and has hit this road block of not being able to recognize the smaller letters.

My question is, though, when your kids showed interest, did you teach them both at once? Does anyone know how the upper case first thing started? And if it works, how do you then transition a kid to reading when all they know is half the letters? Or do you just say "hold off, honey, now we have to learn lower case..." I'm finding with my son, its a little like telling a pregnant woman in labor NOT TO PUSH.

Any comments?
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Re: Question about upper case/lower case letters

Postby Ramona » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:57 pm

Hmm. Interesting question!

I've always taught capitals first, because that was the way I was taught. Once they can recognize all those and write most of them, I do start specifically teaching the lower case. But I find that they tend to be so interested that they figure many of them out for themselves. We just have to work on non-obvious ones like G/g and not I/l, where the upper- and lowercase letters aren't shaped alike. Sort of like pointing out that the name of aitch doesn't have the /h/ sound in it, and the sound of w isn't /d/.

I'm in that spot of trying to hold off my kindergartener on reading for a bit longer right now. She's my 5th child, and she's champing at the bit and teaching herself lots of things as she gets ready for them because I'm taking it too slow for her liking. But that's OK. It's probably better for her to teach herself than for me to try to impose lessons on days when she doesn't happen to be in the mood. If she's learning because she's that interested, she'll really remember it and she'll love learning in general.

I've always assumed teaching capitals first is because it's easier to remember one shape per letter when you're starting than to try do take in two at once, and the reason for not starting with small letters is because they tend to be a bit more ornate and difficult to distinguish.

Ramona

WWMama
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Postby WWMama » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:06 pm

Thanks Ramona. He has such an interest, that I wonder if I let him alone to figure things out for a bit what would happen? He asks so many questions, I suppose if I was just available to answer his questions, but not have a formal lesson on it...I wonder what would happen? Perhaps I will try it. It was just so interesting to be teaching him captials and have this total obsession with jumping into reading...I didn't think we would be there yet and I would have time to teach him the lower case.

Then again, I did discuss this with my mom last night and she asked if I remembered how I learned to read. (I was reading at age 4). I didn't get her point until she said "I never taught you anything about reading, you just figured it out on your own."

Its hard because I'm not someone who is really into formal enducation for younger kids...but then I have this "younger kid" who wants so much to learn everything he can. Hmmm... :?
Peace:

It does not meant to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

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Postby Kitty-Cat » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:19 pm

I think they teach capitals first because most kids seem to remember and write them more easily. I did them at the same time but my dd caught onto the capitals first. I did them together so we wouldn't run into the problem you are having now. I introduced them as mummy and baby letters and we played a game with some cards. The baby was lost and needed to find the mummy or daddy letter. Your son might be a bit old for that perhapes. You could also play fish the baby 'lower case' out of the river and place it with the capital or memory where you take turns turning over cards to find the pairs.
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WWMama
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Postby WWMama » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:46 pm

Thanks, that is a great idea! The fishing game will probably work great with him!
Peace:

It does not meant to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

Ramona
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Postby Ramona » Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:38 pm

Kitty-Cat wrote:...mummy and baby letters and we played a game with some cards. The baby was lost and needed to find the mummy or daddy letter. ...You could also play fish the baby 'lower case' out of the river and place it with the capital or memory where you take turns turning over cards to find the pairs.


Oh, what cute ideas! Brilliant!

Thanks,
Ramona

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Postby Kitty-Cat » Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:58 am

You're welcome. :)

Another game we play is 'feed the monster' You can do this on letters, numbers, state names, anything they need to learn. Draw or print out your monster with an open mouth, it needs to be on stiff card. Or even just use a basket. Then scatter around letters, some can even be hiding if the kids like that. Then the monster is very hungry "I'm so hungry, where is my breakfast! I want the letter Ff" etc.
Then your child has to quickly find and feed the monstor but only with the correct letters, numbers, whatever. My dd loved it if I did a growly monster voice lol. I also pretended any wrong ones where very yucky but she enjoyed that so much she started feeding the monster the wrong ones on purpose! lol. Older kids could have a timer running and the words etc hidden around the room to make it harder.
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Postby ann foster » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:16 pm

I can see your problem but let's look at what can be done to support the child.
*Use wooden/plastic letters and group the letters together that look similar; c, f, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z. Your child appears to be very bright and will see the similarities. Then there are only a few letters that he will need to concentrate on carefully; a, b, d, e, g,h, q, r.
*Line up the capital letters and place the lower case on the top
* Play cards with the child using lower case and matching the upper
* On the Letter Box site there is a reasonably priced set of cards that can be purchased to play three games.
I hope that this information was helpful.
Ann

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Postby bright_tomato » Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:55 am

have you seen this site?
http://www.starfall.com
my son loves it and it's got a good emphasis on both capitals and lower case, I love how they use different voices for the two.

Jo, I love the Monster game idea, I might use that too! I also use mummy and baby often to refer to capitals and lower case letters.

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Postby elliemaejune » Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:53 pm

Spalding teaches lower case letters first, and upper case letters when the children need to know them. The rules for capitol letters are taught, too, so the children know *when* to use capitol letters; otherwise there will be upper- and lower-case letters randomly written all over the place :-)

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Postby gardening momma » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:41 am

I taught my daughter both uppercase and lowercase at the same time. She's 4 1/2 now. We used a lot of flashcards, wooden puzzles & books (the kind that are mostly about letter recognition). She doesn't have any confusion between upper & lowercase. She has started to write some letters, including her name. She knows to use an uppercase letter for the first letter of her name, and lowercase for the others (although she has an "o" and an "s" in her name, so they sometimes look like capital letters).

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Postby memmerrill » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:03 am

From what I understand, capitals are taught first because they are easier to learn how to write. In kindergarten, children are learning to read & write simultaneously.

I started teaching the letters and their sounds to my daughter when she turned three because she showed interest. She's now 3 1/2 and we're beginning the letter R now. She learns uppercase & lowercase at the same time on separate felt squares with her flannel board. You just don't want to confuse a child with Aa on the same flash card. :) Best wishes!

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Postby gardening momma » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:45 am

memmerrill wrote:From what I understand, capitals are taught first because they are easier to learn how to write. In kindergarten, children are learning to read & write simultaneously.


I can see where you might want to teach capital letter writing first, but you can still teach upper & lowercase letter recognition at the same time.

I'm teaching upper & lowercase writing at the same time because my daughter wants to do both (since she already has a good grasp on upper & lowercase letter recognition). We use several different workbooks, and they have both upper & lower taught at the same time.

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Postby memmerrill » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:56 am

To be more specific, I guess I should have said: From what I understand, capitals are taught first in most schools because they are easier to learn how to write. In kindergarten at school, children are learning to read & write simultaneously.

I was simply trying to answer WWMama's original question of,
I was told (wish I could remember who told me) that in public school (I'm in MN) they teach all upper case letters first and don't worry about the lower case at all. So (thinking they were all powerful and mighty at the time) went ahead and started doing that with my son.


If you read the rest of my original post, you will see that this is not what I do. I teach upper & lowercase at the same time. :)

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Postby gardening momma » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:34 pm

No problem...I understand.

So I guess most of us are in agreement that teaching both at the same time avoids some confusion later?


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