Big Letters—Little Letters

Big Letters—Little Letters

Which to teach first?

Some say uppercase because they are simpler, but are they? Others say lowercase because we use them the most.

Have a look at history. In Roman times uppercase letters were carved on monuments. They still are, and they are used on signs because they are big and bold. Roman citizens wrote capitals in what appears to be a rapid manner, their version of cursive.

Historically letter formations change with the fashions and attitudes of the time. At some point it became evident that there could be a simpler way to write. Letters were reworked based upon their parent uppercase shapes. The lowercase alphabet was born perhaps as early as the late 5th century.

So if lowercase letters are both used the most, and simpler to form, why not teach them first? After all, children are faced with learning 52 different letter shapes and 10 numerals, so why not make it as easy as possible? Why not start with the easier ones? Children want to write their names, so add the two or three capitals each child will need. You will be subtlety teaching capitals for proper names.

Uppercase? Lowercase?
When typesetting was invented each character was forged in metal. Capitals were stored in the top part of a case, thus their name, uppercase.

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