Selecting a Font for the Beginning Reader and Writer

Selecting a Font for the Beginning Reader and Writer

Shopping for fonts is like shopping for shoes. How do you feel today? Strong? Elegant? Edgy? There’s a font for that. But how about selecting a font for a beginning reader or writer?

When designing my worksheets, I use my beloved Helvetica Textbook. Here is a sample:

Selecting a Font for the Beginning Reader and Writer: Helvetica Textbook
Helvetica Textbook at work

It is open and clean, and does not use the “fancy” (aka double-story) versions of the a and g. Here is Helvetica Textbook as compared to Times Roman (also a beautiful classic, but better suited to more experienced readers). Helvetica Textbook characters appear to the right.

open a and g versus infant a and g

Other readily available fonts use the simple a and g such as Futura, Century Gothic,  and the font that everyone loves to hate on – Comic Sans.

Poor old Comic Sans
Comic Sans

For the lettering eBook, I decided to develop my own. Since many people use Adobe Illustrator to design the vectors for fonts I figured I would give it a try. I purchased a font converter named Type Tool (from the developers of FontLab Studio and Fontographer).

I have stuck with the simple a and g, and tried to make a font whose sole feature was the clean, recognizable letter forms:Selecting a Font for the Beginning Reader and Writer: Enrichment PrimaryI had a little strut in my step that day after designing the font. It felt great, and I am looking forward to designing more.

But I need to keep my eye on the ball. I’ll go back to designing some more worksheets instead. Fonts to come later…

Great day all!

p.s. When I worked in the Educational Publishing industry, we were encouraged to use so-called primary fonts when setting pages for Pre-K through Grade 2. That standard has relaxed a bit, and I am certain it is fine. There are some gorgeous, easy-to-read fonts that use a double-story a and g. And the kids are pretty smart. They’ll catch right on either way!