Upper Case vs. Lower Case Letters

It is an exciting time when a parent is able to teach their child how to spell their name.  It is also a crucial time.  When you are introducing something new you want to make sure you are introducing it correctly.  So often see a child print their name like this:

Rachel has written her name with four upper case letters and two lower case letters.  The correct format should be an upper case “R” followed by all lower case letters.  Although this child is still learning it is important to let him/her know that lower case letter are correct for all letters after “R”, and, in fact, for most of the printing he/she will be doing.


It is often thought that upper case letters are easier for children – not so.  Over half the letters are exactly the same or very similar and the remaining ones are simply combinations of straight lines and curved lines for both upper and lower, not easier or harder, just different.


Some say upper case are more distinct than lower case letters.  Again, this is not true, as we see below:


I   J  L  T      i  j  l  t


In this example, the lower case letters are much more distinctive from one to the other than the upper case letters.   Both upper and lower case letters have distinction issues because they are abstract marks.  Lower case letters appear to be more confusing only because children encounter them more often and therefore there are more opportunities to confuse them.


Although children will make mistakes while learning how to read and write, it is important to model and encourage correcting writing whenever we are instructing (whether we are parents or teachers).


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