No more DOTS: Supporting without dots!

C.Q. Wilder, M.Ed

June 24, 2014

NO MORE DOTS!!!!! I’m sure you are asking yourself, “What is she talking about?” These are the dot’s I am talking about!


In my classroom, I use to fall for this trick. I grew up learning how to write like this. The idea is that the child will “follow the dots” and write their letters. The problem is that one time, I over-heard a student, while practicing his writing this way, say to himself, “Follow the dots. Follow the dots.” I realized at that time, the child had no clue what letter he was writing but was more concerned with “following the dots.” The goal should be that the child understands and can see the letter they are writing and then writes the letter and follows the directions of the lines. The child shouldn’t just be connecting dots and this is what this method encourages!

If you want to support your child, use a lighter color and write the letters or words you want the child to write. They can then write over the letters and see what letter they are forming with their writing. Look below for an example!

Again, I can’t stress enough that children need to be able to identify the letters they are writing. This simple direction of writing the letters or words for them in a light color and then having them write the letters and words on their own support a child in a number of ways.

1. It helps with letter and word recognition.

2. Allows a child to follow the direction of the modeled letter or words on the paper.

3. Great opportunity to dictate out loud what the student is doing. For example, if they are writing the letter T, you can say,  “One line across. One line down.” The child can hear the direction and it’s matched to what they are doing on the paper. Children will pick up on this language and begin to use it when they are writing their own letters.

4. Great way to work on pencil grip and following directions!