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.