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Sunday, September 29, 2019


Training eyes to move from left to right and then reverse sweep is a key to beginning reading and writing. A simple, yet powerful way, that teachers can do this is through modeling. Make it a habit to sweep your hand from left to right under words or lines of print on charts, big books, white boards, and so forth.

Right & Left Song
(Tune: “Up on the Housetop”)
Here is my right hand way up high.
(Hold up right hand.)
Here is my left hand touch the sky.
(Hold up left hand.)
Right and left and roll out of sight.
(Roll hands around.)
Now I know my left and right.
(Hold up left and then right.)

Hint!  Focus on the right hand because then what is “left” over will be their left.

Put a sticker on each child’s right hand and then play “Simon Says” or the “Hokey Pokey.”

Let children make bracelets out of pipe cleaners and wear them on their right hand. Throughout the day call attention to their right hand…right ear…right leg…right foot, etc.

Rub lotion or scented lip balm on each child’s right hand.

Trace around your right hand on construction paper and cut it out. Place it near the flag so children can visually match up their right hand and then place it over their hearts.

Hold up your hands and stick out thumbs and index fingers as you say:
          Which is my left? Which is my right?
          Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
          But when I stick my thumbs out straight,
          My left will make an “L.”


Left From Right(Anthony Corbo aka “Mr. Kindergarten” taught me this song.)
 (Tune: “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
         I want to learn my left from right,
         Left from right, left from right.
         I want to learn my left from right,
         I try with all my might.
         The left hand makes the letter L,
         Letter L, letter L.
         The left hand makes the letter L,
         Hurray, now I can tell!

Tracking Left to Right
Draw tracks on sentence strips similar to the ones shown. Children can drive cars or move animals from left to right.

Hint! Make a green dot where they are to begin and a red dot where they should end.

Top to Bottom Song (Dawna Hunter)
(Tune: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”)
Top to bottom,
Left to right.
Top to bottom,
Left to right.
My mind knows that writing always goes
Top to bottom,
Left to right.

Pencil Stories
Pencil stories using story symbols can help children develop top to bottom and left-to-right orientation. They’re also an engaging way to develop small motor skills. These stories should be told multiple times so children can practice the pre-writing strokes and feel more competent. You might want to do the same story every day for a week as you invite the children to recall what will come next. You could also make a tape of the story to put in a listening center. Demonstrate these stories on the board or a large chart so children will be able to copy what you do.

*Older children would probably get a kick out of creating their own “pencil talk” stories.

And here's a new story just right for this time of year!

An Autumn Walk
Let’s take an autumn walk. (horizontal)
The leaves are falling down. (vertical)
Ooooo! Do you hear the wind blow? (diagonal)
There’s some kids throwing the football. (diagonal other direction
The crickets are chirping. (X)
The squirrels are digging holes for their nuts. (zig zag line)
The birds are migrating south. (curvy line)
The scarecrows are standing in the fields. (t)
The pumpkins are getting ripe on the vine. (o)
Time to put on sweaters and hats. (triangle)
What a happy time of year! (smiley face)


After I did the above story I realized it would be way too complicated for younger children. Here's an easier version I would try with the little ones. Just to get them to go from left to right and make a few strokes would be a good beginning.


Hint!  Put a green line down the left side to show them where to start and a red line down the right side to indicate where they should stop.