The case for lowercase
Resources for teaching children letters are often based on the uppercase alphabet. Magnetic letters are quite often uppercase, for example, and in many workbooks on sale, capitals are used. You can see why – capitals are easier to form. Over half of them are made of only straight lines, in comparison to less than a fifth of lower case letters.
However, when teaching letters, I always prefer to teach lower case first. When I taught Reception, of the children that came to school able to form some letters, many formed predominantly in upper case. This was a challenge, as they needed to use uppercase so infrequently in comparison to lowercase that they had to relearn those letters and really concentrate in order to remember to use the lower case.
Some prefer to teach both lowercase and uppercase at the same time, but personally, I find this can be a little confusing. However, I do think capitals need to follow fairly swiftly after the lowercase letters have been used.
Here is a really simple letter match game I played with T one afternoon which gave me a bit of insight in to how well she knew her capital letters.
You will need:
- A set of lowercase letters – we used some wooden ones from Amazon. Magnetic letters or even printed or handwritten ones would work just as well.
- A set of uppercase letters – scrabble tiles are perfect for this, as you need to be able to turn them face-down.
To play the game:
- Divide the lowercase letters between each player.
- Place the uppercase letters facedown in the middle.
- Take turns to choose an uppercase letter and if you have the matching lowercase letter, pair them up. If not, return it facedown in the middle.
- The winner is the first one to match all their letters.
To help me get a better idea of which letters T knew, I got her to help me out a bit! But whether you do this or not, its good practise for them in recognising letters.