The tactile experience (touching the letter with your finger) is important for building a memory trace. This enables students to acquaint the name of each letter with a visual representation for the letter sound. For a child who is struggling with their letters, the sooner they can integrate the sound of the letter with what it looks like, the sooner their writing contains more meaning for them.
For this activity, we talked about the letter D. We discussed words that begin with this letter; words like dinosaur, dirt, dreidel, and dog that we pronounced and then broke up into their component parts. Using our fingers, we moved to the ground, where we carved (with some help from Miss Carrie) letter Ds into the dirt, and then traced them with our pointer fingers.