Teaching Letter Recognition- Uppercase or Lowercase

Updated on February 07, 2010
C.M. asks from Denton, TX
7 answers

Do you use lowercase or uppercase letters when teaching letters? What about when teaching words? Do you use all uppercase, all lowercase, or first one uppercase and the rest lowercase? My 3 yr old recognizes both most times, but I'm never sure when we are practicing how I should be writing the letters for her to read or how I should have her write them. Hopefully I am making some sense with this :-)

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So What Happened?

So many great replies! I didn't even think of half the things that were mentioned...like the different methods of teaching handwriting. I will check into a few schools around here to see what they use. I will also try to start writing the letters in the same fashion. I made poor grades in my handwriting class when I was younger so hopefully my daughter won't (I blame mine on being left handed). I am also excited to check out some teacher supply stores to get handwriting paper. My daughter will be excited...she loves doing "school work" like Daddy. She does have great small motor skills and has always held a writing utensil (crayon, marker, pen) just like a pencil. She has been spelling and writing her name for a while. She can even sign (fingerspell) her name (I'm super proud of that one). Before she starts writing too many things, I need to educate myself on proper handwriting skills so she won't have to relearn later. Thanks, Moms. I am so glad I asked this question.

More Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

I teach handwriting to kids. Good for you for wanting to get a head start. I agree with Jill F. – it is important to look at what handwriting program your school is using. There are MANY programs out there (D'Neilian and Zaner-Bloser are the most popular but some schools use other programs). You want to make sure that you teach letters for the program the school is using so she will not have to "re-learn" the formation (** I have had parents report to me that some schools make kids form letters according to their program so if the child uses another program the school corrects the child). There are some wonderful websites that show how to form letters according to the handwriting program the school uses.

When teaching handwriting there are a number of things to keep in mind.
1) a child must recognize letters before they can write them
2) the straight line letters are easier to learn (e.g. /E/F/H/I/L/T/)
3) upper case letters are easier than lower case letters – that being said each handwriting program is different some teach upper and lower together)
4) do not practice formal writing (pencil/paper) for more than 5-7 minutes a day
5) use fun activities to encourage writing - e.g. trace letters using the correct formation using rainbow writing (you write the letter and have her trace the letter in different colors using correct sequence), place cheerios/mini m&m on the line of letters again in the same sequence that you use to write the letter, etc)
6) use boarders when writing (don’t use a blank piece of paper when writing letters). For her age you can divide paper into 6 boxes (1 horizontal line, 2 vertical lines) and write one letter in each box.
7) don’t set expectations too high – I don’t expect 3 year olds to write. Part of this is because most 3 year olds do not have proper pencil grasp thus if they write too young an inefficient grasp maybe reinforced.

I have a lot of handouts – let me know if you are interested.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If she already knows most of them and you are writing words, write them in standard English. That means write proper nouns (specific places, people, and things) with a capital letter. If the word is improper (any old regular place, person, or thing) then write using all lower case letters. Lots of kids (and adults) get confused with this. You might also talk about starting each sentence (when you get to that) with a capital letter.

You will also want to look at the type of handwriting the local school (the one you plan to send her to) uses. There is Zaner-Bloser which is also called traditional handwriting. This uses straight up and down "balls" and "sticks." There is also DeNeilian which is also called modern handwriting. That is where the letters have a slight slant to them and "tails." Most schools have switched to DeNeilian because it is easier for the students to transition to cursive handwriting. You can look on their websites or simply call the school and ask.

You will want to make sure that once she is writing her letters that she is using the district's choice of handwriting and have all posters and tools have the same way to write the letters. You may want to look at a teacher supply store to find the proper handwriting tools (workbooks, writing paper, and how-to posters.

If she doesn't know all of the letters yet, then do what Denise P. suggested.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I use this website http://starfall.com my 22 month old can't get enough of it. It has tons of different lessons for all levels of learning



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would start with capital leters, then switch to the combo "Aa, Bb" etc. Can she write them? If so, great!


answers from Detroit on

I would say you would teach both; start teaching with capital letters as they're a bit bigger and often times, easier to write; introduce the lowercase letters: A a ... tell her that they are the same letter, only one is big and one is small; but practice writing the capital letters first. good luck!


answers from San Diego on

both. we had an alphabet puzzle in uppercase we did for a week, and then I found a lowercase puzzle and we mixed up all the letters and practiced recognizing and naming them all. My daughter (2yr) called them "mommy" or "baby"--so cute! We practice finding letters on signs, in magazines, on TV, etc., and writing with crayons, chalkboard, magna-doodle, and typing on the keyboard -- all in fun and games at this age. For practicing individual letters, practice both. When writing words and sentences, feel free to use all caps sometimes, but probably use lowercase w/regular capitalization for the most part.



answers from New York on

I first taught my 2 year olds uppercase letters. All of them. Then uppercase letters and sounds. We learned writing their first and last names./ After they got all that, and practiced for a few months, then i introduced the lower case letters. When we went through lowercase letters, we did it by starting the sentence with one uppercase letter, proper names starting with uppercase letter, comma, period, and all that. Mine didn't get confused, although I was afraid because English language, on top of uppercase and lowercase letters, has the sounds as well. I thought that would be confusing, but my English-speaking kids didn't seem confused :)

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