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U is for Uppercase & Lowercase

Why dedicate an entire post on upper- and lower-case letters? It actually is quite important to know and understand the differences of uppercase, aka capitals, and lowercase as it impacts when and how we teach them!

Uppercase letters are typically the first letters that we teach children. They are all the same size. They are made of simple lines and curves. They are naturally larger than lowercase therefore making them easier to write at the beginning of letter learning.

In contrast, lowercase letters are taught once basic lines and shapes are mastered and at the point when children have developed fine motor skills for more refined letter formation. Lowercase letters are also taught in conjunction with line placement instruction as lowercase letters have 3 different sizes/placements on the line.

It is also important to teach uppercase and lowercase letters in a particular order. This order is based on both developmental stages where horizontal and vertical lines are learned first, building a solid foundation of pencil control and fine/visual motor skills... saving more complex curves and diagonals for later learning. Likewise, letters are grouped together with other letters of similar stroke patterns making it easier to learn and retain. Be sure to check out our previous post on Teaching Order for Uppercase here!

With all of this said, teaching cursive is exactly the opposite! We teach lowercase first, then uppercase. The reasoning behind this is two-fold: many lowercase cursive letters resemble their print counterpart making them easier to recognize and learn AND most of the letters we write are lowercase, so it makes sense to put the time and effort there.

Are you surprised at how important and complex uppercase and lowercase instruction is?! It shows just how critical it is to teach handwriting in an explicit and systematic way.

Let us know if you need some guidance with your handwriting instruction programming by emailing


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