Around Like a “C”

In honor of our new son Charley, who we like to call “little c” among other things, I am writing about the importance of the letter C when it comes to handwriting. I introduce the letter C very early in the school year (after S, M, T, and P) because there are ten other letters that begin “around like a C” when they are written. Students need to know how to form the letter C before learning any of the other letters that begin that way.

You may have seen other programs that suggest introducing letters made of straight lines first, introducing uppercase letters first and lowercase letters later, introducing the letters in alphabetical order, or introducing letter sounds before letter names.

My program introduces letters in an order that I believe makes the most sense for teaching reading, handwriting, and spelling effectively. The first eight lessons in The Monaco Method for Early Literacy present high frequency letters that are distinct from one another and teach many of the strokes necessary for writing the alphabet. These letters also allow for the spelling of many CVC words and give children the information they need to start reading. When students learn about a letter, they need to know what it’s called, how it sounds, and how to write it in uppercase and lowercase form. With all of these components in place, students will have a complete understanding of the alphabet and a solid foundation for early literacy.


My latest creature…

…is human! Our second son was born on Sunday, November 4, 2012. I must say little Charley is cuter than all 37 of my puppets combined, and a lot less work! We are so happy to have him here, and of course when he’s ready to learn about phonics, we’ll be prepared! 🙂

The Pillow Case

Monaco Lane’s featured homework kit for November is The Pillow Case. Last month I posted The Diaper Bag because I thought my baby would be born in October. Wrong! So now I am posting The Pillow Case because my baby will certainly be born in November and I know my head won’t be making much contact with my pillow case!

Would you like instructions for making The Pillow Case, related worksheets, and an activities list so parents will know how to use it with their children? You can request them through the “contact” tab on my website and I will send you the PDF files via email. My kits make homework magical for children. I hope you will take the time to make one and experience the joy and excitement they will bring to your classroom (or your home)!


That’s the number of days I taught this year before going on maternity leave. My first graders have finished their long vowel neighborhoods. My kindergarteners are four letters away from completing the alphabet. All of my students have amazing handwriting and are either reading beautifully or headed in that direction. Not to mention they are in the best hands I could imagine during my absence. Deep breath. Although I am a bit reluctant to leave my sweet little class, I can hardly wait to meet our new baby! School ended today with our “baby countdown” at 2. Someone asked what would happen to the countdown after I left. I explained that it would be at zero by Monday, and if the baby still hasn’t arrived, they can starting counting up to keep track of the days I am overdue. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen! Farewell to life as a teacher until April 8, 2013 and hello to the priceless months ahead that I will get to to spend with my husband, our son, and our newest addition!