C Pirate Letters Sand Tray

Correct formation of the letter e is very important. This has been helpful for many students. Letter e is the only letter that starts in the middle.

Montessori-Style Letters with an Engaging Pirate Theme

Handwriting can be an engaging activity with a pirate theme in a sand tray. In book two of this handwriting letter adventure, the pirates have just realized that they have no vowels. All the letters that they learned in book one can not be used to spell any real words. Their excitement turns to confusion.

A cheeky bird calls out, “Aw, au vowels.” Then it flies away.

The pirates rapidly chase after the bird and learn to make the C-shaped letters along the way. This group includes c, a, g, d, q, o, s, e.

Sand Trays

The use of sand trays in the Montessori style is one of my favorite ways to practice letters. Normally, I just would rotate different colors of sand, or customize the tray bottom with different colored or shiny paper. But this storybook pirate theme opens up my options and lets me add items from the book. The kids can recreate the letters by following along or re-enacting the story. This gives me more opportunities to talk to them about starting spots and correct letter formation in a fun way.

Choosing the right supplies to make a mini fake coconut for the C-letter theme.

Gathing Supplies for the C-Letters to Trace Around

Any box will do to make your own sand tray. It can be a fancy wood one like this, or a shallow box with a lid if you are concerned with spills. The fake coconut may be harder to find. My husband brought me a macadamia nut still in the shell. I think is the perfect size. I need to cut it and paint the inside white. The larger object next to it was an avocado seed, but the shape it off. I don’t think I will use that one.

Yellow paint on the coin gave it extra shine.

Pirate gold at the top marks the start spot for most of the letters in the group. I had a foreign coin that was about the size of a penny, with some extra yellow paint added, it now stands out from the sand color. This was the best size for my small box. If your box is bigger, you could use the fake gold they sell in the party supply stores.

The Letter e, Starts in the Middle

You might want to have one fake coconut that is still whole and roll it in your sand tray for the letter e. In the story, the pirates hear a weird noise in the brushes and one of them rolls a coconut like a bowling ball in a straight line. Then, the monkey pushes it away and it makes the letter e shape.

When I teach this to students at my writing table, I open the book and show them the pictures. We say the steps together roll it straight and the monkey pushes it around in the c shape. That is the letter e. This has been helpful for many students. Letter e is the only letter that starts in the middle.

Correct formation of the letter e is very important. Many students make sloppy rushed letters. In the case of letter e, it might look the same as the letter c. This is a problem that impacts spelling especially if the /e/ is close to the letter /k/. Then the word looks like it ends with /ck/.

You can order the books from Amazon and the letterstrips, letter cards and worksheets can all be found on TPT.

The adventure continues, the pirates think that someone has been digging for treasure on the island. A huge surprise in the sand leads them to learn the next set of straight-line letters.

These letters are the third handwriting group they learn: i, j, l, t, f, k.

The straight lines of the turtle tracks leading to the water are a very good way to explain the direction of travel and remember to start at the top. The hatchling eggs mark the dot on top of the letters i and j.

Pirate theme handwriting letters

Book 3 of the handwriting adventure.

The pirate’s journey is complete and they find the last vowel and the treasure in book four X Pirate Letters. Shark teeth are used to make the pointy slanted line letters.

The whole pirate adventure is available in one storybook on Amazon. The Pirate Letters: Lowercase Handwriting Storybook.

Have Pure Joy Teaching

The b fits in the Left Hand

This is a helpful way to remember which way the letter b is going

b/d Reversals Tricks and Tips

b d reversals. Do your students ask this question a lot? Which way is b?

This poster is a helpful way to remember which way the letter b is going. It should fit in your left hand. Find it here on TPT.

This works for students who are right-handed writers.

Pure Joy Teaching

You might also like this hb hb go the same way. Great for letter b reversals.

Back to School Handwriting Program

Engaging Handwriting Orton-Gillingham Styled Letter Tracables and Story Book Lessons

This book and handwriting program has fun visual links to help students see the letter shape patterns and avoid letter confusion.

Great for back-to-school, colorful pictures with an animal and pirate theme.

Find the book here on Amazon. The printables can be purchased on TPT

Hu bu hu bu Handwriting – Helps with b d reversals

Letter reversals can be a huge problem, and sometimes the letter b comes out looking like the number 6. 

This is a fun way to practice the correct letter formation and the letter sounds at the same time.

Letter reversals can be a huge problem, and sometimes the letter b comes out looking like the number 6.  Some students start both by drawing a straight down and then they can not remember which way the b or d should turn.

So we use the h b h b practice.  I tell them the letter h and b are almost the same, the only difference is the letter b is closed at the bottom. So, make the tall letter h then close the bottom. Now it is the letter b.  Be sure to make the letter sounds when you write.  “h, b, h, b.” This is very important to make the letter sounds. Be careful not to use the letter name too much. Referring to the letter by its sound can help to avoid letter name interference. Letter name interference is very common with w, y, and u.

How to correct b and d reversals in handwriting

©Pure Joy Teaching

This is also a great time to remind them that the letter h is a tall letter, and the letter n is a small letter.

It is super important that students learn to start the letters at the top, not the bottom. We have found that when students start the letters on the bottom line there is a good chance that they will turn out backwards. We were seeing confusing letters and thought “Is it dyslexia?” In this case no, it was not. It was just bad handwriting habits that needed to be corrected by teaching the students to start the lowercase letters at the top, and not the bottom.

This is one of the reasons that I wrote this book R’s Pirate Handwriting Storybook. The shape of the letter r is a really good way to group all the letters that make the same starting shape. Practicing these letters together can also help remove the b d confusion. This book series is full of effective practices for teaching writing.

Have Pure JOY Teaching

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Sellers-Im-Following/Add/Pure-Joy-Teaching

You might also like these!

Pirate Letters Handwriting Storybook By D. Passmore

This makes handwriting a fun adventure with easy-to-trace images that follow a logical pattern. Orton-Gillingham Style letter grouping.

Less letter confusion with b and d reversal problems solved.

The colorful bird points out the all-important vowel sounds.

Four books in one. The complete lowercase letter handwriting storybook collection.

Treasure-seeking pirates find things in the sand to trace around. This is how they learn the new skill of handwriting. Pirate-themed word-play helps create a memorable and fun storyline, with playful use of the letters: r, i, c, and x. The similar grouping of letter shapes makes it easy for them to learn the four-letter groups quickly. Special attention is shown to the importance of the vowel letters. With the help of a chatty parrot, the story has incorporated a few vowel sounds. Each letter has a specific visual cue to demonstrate the correct letter starting point. The letters are organized in clusters to help correct letter reversal errors. Each book in the series shares a close relation to Orton-Gillingham’s Style of handwriting instruction groups.
Handwriting is an adventure to treasure.

The four titles included in this book: R’s Pirate Letters, C Pirate Letters, I Pirate Letters, X Pirate Letters.

Posters and cards for this writing lesson that match this book.

1. r, n, m, h, b, p – Letter r is seaweed on the sand, the pirates trace the /r/ shape and that helps to make the other letters in this group. These are the dive down, slide up, and hook letters. Dark blue water on the bottom of the cards.

2. c, a, g, d, q, o, s, e – Letter c is half a coconut. The pirates trace around it in the sand to make the curved letters in this group. These are the /c/ curved letters that share the same starting point. Letter e was added to this group. (funny story in the book for letter /e/) Tallgrass on the bottom of the cards. Great for sand trays.

3. i, j, l, t, f, k – Letter i, are tracks made by turtle-hatchlings. The pirates copy the straight line letters in the sand. Light blue water on the bottom of the cards.

4. v, w, y, x, z, u – Letter v, traces around a shark’s tooth. These are the slanted line letters. Letter u was added to this group. (funny story in the book for letter /u/) Tree trunks on the top of these cards.

Pure Joy Teaching
© Pure Joy Teaching

Handwriting Cards 4 sets Pirate Letters

Easy letter formation instruction with four sets of illustrated card and posters.

Orton Gillingham Style Illustrated Handwriting worksheets, letter strips, and letter cards.

Lowercase letter support to stop letter reversal errors. Easy to follow letter groups. Make handwriting fast and simple to remember by grouping similar letter shapes, making a muscle memory link.

© Pure Joy Teaching

These 4 different letter groups make a wonderful classroom display and reference for handwriting instruction.

Letter Group 1

1. r, n, m, h, b, p – The letter /r/ is seaweed on the sand, the pirates trace the /r/ shape and that helps to make the other letters in this group. These are the dive down, slide up, and hook letters.

Dark blue water on the bottom of the handwriting cards.

  • This first group helps teach students to start the letters at the top
  • Left to right direction of reading and writing

Letter Group 2

2. c, a, g, d, q, o, s, e – Letter c is half a coconut. The pirates trace around the coconut in the sand to make the curved letters in this group. The /c/ curved letters share the same starting point. Letter e was added to this group because it shares the same c shape. (Follow the interaction between a pirate and a monkey. It is a funny story in the book for letter /e/.)

Tallgrass on the bottom of the cards.

Letter Group 3

3. i, j, l, t, f, k – Letter i, are tracks made by turtle-hatchlings. The pirates copy the straight-line letters in the sand.

Light blue water on the bottom of the cards.

Letter Group 4

4. v, w, y, x, z, u – The letter /v/, traces around a shark’s tooth. These are the slanted line letters. Letter u was added to this group. (funny story in the book for letter /u/ and pirate underwear)

Tree trunks on the top of these cards.

Print your own set of letter strips. Great for daily practice, intervention, and more….

c pirate letters - pure joy teaching letter strips
© Pure Joy Teaching

Using the Letter c worksheet and letter strips is a great way to teach letters c, a, g, & d. Make a tactile handwriting adventure with a sand tray.

Letter g is just the letter a with a monkey’s tail. In the story, the monkey jumps down from the tree to grab the coconut.

Pirate Book Series Starts with the Letter r.

Starting the r letter set is what the pirates do. This is the best letter to start with, it sets kids up for the correct starting and stopping pencil strokes. It helps create good writing habits. This letter needs to start at the top, not the bottom. It has the same shape and pattern as the often tricky letter b. (r, h, b, they all go the same way)

Letter strips with pirate theme TPT

Follow this link to my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers

Get your set of cards and worksheets HERE

Books on Amazon

Handwriting letter strips with Mnemonics embedded images TPT

© Pure Joy Teaching

Follow me on Facebook

Air Writing ABC Book

© Pure Joy Teaching

Download and print the flashcards for this book. Teachers Pay Teachers


For play-based learning; with Air Writing

Students can pretend to be an airplane, and mirror the letter movements of the teacher. This exercise can help them learn the correct starting and stopping points of the capital letters. The helpful green dot shows the starting point of the letter, with numbered steps for letters that have more than one step. Valuable teacher instruction pages and Flash Card pages that can be cut out of the book to use in class. The reversed alphabet chart on the back cover of this book, helps to remind the teacher in which direction to make the letters. Very helpful when the book or the card is facing the students.

Mirror image; Why does it look backwards?

Remember my right is your left, when we are facing each other. This book will help teachers so the students will NOT be seeing the reversed Image by mistake. It can aid and support future handwriting success, while learning feels like play.

Find on Amazon

© Pure Joy Teaching