Moveable Alphabet and object box with a lined board
Up until recently, my daughter has been writing letters on unlined paper and chalkboards. She has had lots of practice writing letters in sand, cornstarch, shaving cream and with chalk. Children are best starting out writing letters on blank paper or unlined chalkboards so that they are able to focus their attention on letter formation instead of worrying about placement. When a child is allowed to write on blank paper or boards it frees her/him to write larger, distinguishing more easily between lines and curves and it provides a more natural experience for the child.
It was recently that I decided to introduce the concept of writing on lines and letter placement within lines using both chalkboard writing and the moveable alphabet. I had previously purchased some nice sized chalkboards from a discount Montessori company when I ordered our moveable alphabet. I was so disappointed when the boards arrived. The set of green chalkboards consisted of a lined board and a board with squares (for numbers). The lines were perfect, I loved the large sizes of the boards, however, the board was so glossy that it wouldn't allow for chalk writing. Instead of returning the boards I decided to paint over them with chalkboard paint and add my own lines. This first board (pictured above) has simple lines for writing. This was used for the first introduction of writing on a line.
Unrelated to letters, the other board I painted has squares used for writing numbers. I imagine it will be useful later on with more math related work, but right now it is used for numeral formation. Although not shown in the photo, at the top of the board is the numeral she is working on which she traced with her fingers first before writing.
We now use this board for work with the moveable alphabet and object boxes. I made it with flannel and hot glued on the lines. I stitched the dotted line with embroidery thread and hot glued the flannel onto a board (although cardboard would also work). My daughter is now getting familiar with the placement of the letter within the lines. Our next step, will be using lined paper after some more practice with the flannel lined board.