Teaching letters in distance learning? Working on handwriting in OT teletherapy? Well, one thing is for certain. Our recent virtual therapy slide deck to teach strait line letters was a popular one! That’s why I wanted to not only continue with that letter formation slide deck series (coming soon!) but I wanted to get this newest slide deck out to teach letters in occupational therapy telehealth. So often, school-based OTs have handwriting goals to address. However, when it comes to teaching letter formation and working on handwriting through the screen of teletherapy, it can be difficult to work on aspects such as accuracy without the hands-on component.
These telehealth slides should fill some holes. My mission, as always, is to help you help kids thrive. So, in the current season of virtual therapy sessions, therapy slide decks it is!
Teach Letters in Teletherapy
This slide deck includes a few different ways to teach kids letter formation while working on the underlying areas that impact function and independence.
One tool I love is our printable color by letter worksheet. Use it along with the letter slide deck below.
The slide deck includes handwriting activities in a variety of ways:
Gross Motor Warm-Up- Use the slides to work through teaching letters with a gross motor component. Kids can make several letters using their body to form the letter. This is a great way to incorporate bilateral coordination, core strength, motor planning, and whole-body movements. Pair it with deep breathing if you like.
2. Fine Motor Letter Build- Use items from around the home (toothpicks, crayons, cotton swabs, craft sticks, tree twigs, etc. to build a handful of letters. Work with students as they build components of letters. Be sure to talk them through proper letter formation. Part of the difficulty with distance learning is that we don’t always have a clear picture of what the student is actually doing, especially when they are given a YouTube video to follow with their parent as the implementer, for example. Kids can “build” a letter with totally incorrect formation without the hands-on approach that live teaching offers. Talk them through how to start letters at the top, and jump over to slide down for diagonal portions. Here is more information on teaching kids to build letters with proper formation.
3. Letter I Spy- This slide allows students to visually scan and locate letters hidden in a busy scene. The activity is one that promotes essential visual perceptual skills such as figure-ground, form constancy, visual discrimination, visual closure. Ask students to find a certain number of a specific letter. They can write the letter each time they find it. Or, students can go through the image and find letters to spell their name or a spelling word. They can then write that word out on paper after they locate each letter. Here are more visual motor activities that pull in the perceptual component as well as the motor piece to offer hands-on approaches to building these skills.
4. Writing- This interactive slide asks students to click and drag a lowercase letter to it’s match. They can then practice writing this letter (or ask them to write a word that starts with that letter). This activity challenges more visual perceptual skills such as visual tracking, eye-hand coordination, and visual scanning.
5. Cool Down- Add a sensory component with the cool-down portion of the slide deck. Students can use finger isolation (more fine motor skills) to “paint” a letter on the palm of their other hand (bilateral coordination) for a light touch, tactile challenge as they “write” letters. Best of all is the deep breathing exercise that goes along with this activity. Use it as a regulation or coping strategy at the end of the distance session as you send your little ones off for the day. Here are more activities and ideas to help with anxiety, worries, attention, and other areas impacted by regulation through sensory-based coping strategies.