Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stencil Work

Stencils are great emergent-writing tools for children learning the features of print. They help encourage pencil control, promote the forms used in print (straight lines, diagonal lines, arcs, etc.) and let children make actual forms in a controlled fashion.
This stencil has large, simple shapes--a good place to start. Some stencils can be difficult for young children because of small areas that make it hard to fit the pencil. I like to begin with large shapes, especially circles and squares.
I tied a pen (easier to begin with than a pencil) to a clipboard--this helps keep children from marking on other surfaces. The clipboard holds the stencil in place so the child can focus on tracing the inside of the stencil.

Another modification to this is tracing work--where you make a stencil by cutting out a shape and the child traces the OUTSIDE of the figure. It's good to provide practice with both types of stencils, and using a clipboard for a "stencil holder" while the child traces is a great tool!
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