A Little Chirography*
I discovered a little big thing yesterday.
Charlie can write the alphabet.
Ok, if you look really closely (he doesn't press down so hard with the pencil) at the worksheet in the photo, you can see that a lot of the letters have vaguely lowercase a or s on its side shapes. Being a proud mother, I not only made a couple of xeroxes (as below) of Charlie's worksheet; I am going to send the original to my parents. (They read my blog so I am spoiling the surprise.)
The first three letters on the sheet do look to be c, h, a, r. These would be the first four letters of Charlie's name. As this is the one word he has been writing over, over and over again since he was around five years old, it's no surprise that he starts auto-writing those letters when a pencil ends up in his hand. Everything changed with the E, and I could see Charlie's eyes dart up as he noted the E written in dashes on the line above, though the I seems not have made it onto the page.
Progress not perfection: That is the mantra with Charlie's learning. I could see how far Charlie's come with his writing not only by his formation of the letters but by his sustained attention to the movements of the pencil in his hand. By the time he reached M he was reciting the letters out loud while writing and I stepped back, and he wrote his way to the end of the worksheet.
The letters that aren't quite right—like J rendered as D and an l for K, the sideways S for both S and also X—give me clues into how Charlie sees and into his struggles with certain aspects of fine-motor coordination. I'm thinking he sees the curve of the J and so renders it as D. S done sideways suggests a continuing difficulty with small-scale motor-planning (it took a long time for Charlie to learn to do certain gross-motor movements like climbing down a ladder; he had to be taught to turn around and how to place his feet and hands and hold his body). The X done as a sideways S reflects an ongoing challenge that Charlie has had to write or draw a diagonal or slanted line. And, getting near the end, he was in a bit of a hurry and wasn't inclined to lift the pencil from the paper.
Yes, I've already hung up a copy of the worksheet on the bulletin board in my office. Frankly, I'm very fond of the overall loopy-curviness that runs throughout the letters, and especially as conveyed in the curl on the t. (Eat your heart out, Helvetica?)
Over-reading a little, am I? It's that proud mother thing again, and, too, having waited more than a couple of years to see Charlie write his ABC's.
*the study of penmanship or handwriting