Fingerings are a popular learning tool for children who learn to read. These fingerings, or patterns, can be printed on paper and used to practice phonics, or the study of sound patterns. Reading is usually taught first in a phonics-based education, and then worked into a homeschool curriculum or placed on a CD for families that prefer homeschooling. Some parents do not feel comfortable with this and would rather have their child learn with a more hands-on approach. That is where fingerspelling practice sheets come in handy!
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What are fingerspelling sheets? They are simply sheets of paper, card stock, or other suitable paper with words written on one side. You and your child can work at tracing the letters and match them up to the corresponding pictures on the other side. You can also use a sheet of paper with only letters in place of words. This allows your child to practice the sounds of each letter, making use of the visual cues associated with each letter.
You can purchase fingerspelling practice sheets for almost any book on phonics or English, or for home schooling purposes. You can also make them yourself. If you are practicing with other children, make sure they understand the purpose behind the practice and don’t end up making it too difficult for you – kids tend to think analytically, and they can learn a lot just by seeing something done, even if it isn’t exactly what they’re trying to get.
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So how can you get started using fingerspelling practice sheets? It is easy to make them yourself. Get a large sheet of card stock, glue, and scissors, a pencil, a ruler, and a few paints. Let’s assume you are working on a freeform pattern for the flicks “Beautiful Boy” and “The Seven dwarfs”. That’s a lot of information to load into your brain!
To begin you will want to make two identical horizontal bands of black and white, just like you did when you were practicing on Fingerspelling sheets from the previous lesson. Match up these bands to the three Fingerspelling letters on the left hand side of the page. Use your index finger and thumb to lift the top band, while tapping the tip of the other fingers lightly against the letters to see which shape they match. Do the same thing to the bottom band, but in reverse. For the next step you will simply want to trace the outline of the letters on the page with the pointer and the eraser. When you have the correct shape for the letters, erase the traced line and draw a new one in its place.
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It is easiest to work with the two basic Fingerspelling shapes, although if you find it easier to read and understand a graph, then by all means do so. In addition to the two Fingerspelling shapes outlined above, you could also use the circle Fingerspelling shape or the triangular Fingerspelling shape. These two basic shapes are the simplest to master and are proven effective through practice. Try and keep your hands as smooth and motionless as possible, because this will make it easier to execute each sound. Another great method for perfecting Fingerspelling is to practice under a mirror, as this will allow you to see how your hand looks like during each exercise.
Now that you’ve mastered the basics, you can purchase some Fingerspelling Practice Sheets online. This will give you a great tool to practice at home with. They usually come in a binder with a pen and pencils, but if you don’t have these, you can easily make your own out of old cards, newspaper, cardstock, or even markers. If you need additional support while you’re practicing, there are online videos available to teach you all the tricks to Fingerspelling, including the correct posture, finger placement, and the correct waistline.
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Fingerspelling practice worksheets are very fun, as well as very effective for learning the skill. By using a mixture of hand positions, different-colored pencils and even a few white spaces, you’ll be able to quickly memorize all the rules of this exciting game. However, make sure you read through all the instructions carefully, as even the most practiced players may miss a rule or two. This is why it’s important to have good instruction, including an explanation of the white spaces, as well as a list of the fingers you are supposed to use.
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