You know how I always say there seems to be waves of issues plaguing our children. From Preschoolers to 5th graders, this spring the overwhelming issue has been handwriting. Handwriting has taken a back seat in education for some time now, but it is making a comeback and personally, I am glad. Handwriting has a significant place in the educational setting. Handwriting fluency is a fundamental building block of learning. Handwriting issues are linked to spelling, writing, math, study skills, and test taking errors. From kindergarten all the way to fourth grade, children think and write at the same time. As children mature the two become separate. If children struggle when remembering how to make their letters, then their ability to express themselves will suffer. The motions have to be automatic. How can you help your child at home to improve their handwriting to improve automaticity and fluency? Here are a few suggestions:
- Pencil GRIP is very important! A classic grip is holding the pencil between your thumb and index fingers. A tripod grip is using your thumb, index and middle finger to grip the instrument. Grip is extremely difficult to change if you do not address it early!
- Find a good space with an appropriate size chair or yoga ball to help with posture and control.
- Place your child’s paper on a SLANTED surface such as a three ring binder for the most effective writing surface.
- Use the right tools. Is your child’s regular pencil not doing the trick? Try a smaller or shorter, kid-sized one or even a fat chubby one. A good eraser is key so he’s not afraid of making mistakes.
- Make practicing fun. Get cool pencils and pens and play with them. Make rainbow words (tracing over a letter or words in multiple colors), play word puzzles, anagrams, hangman or doodle outside with sidewalk chalk!
- Encourage drawing…get some tracing paper for your child if they are not confident in their drawing capabilities.
- Keep an alphabet chart handy so your child can double check herself.
- If your child is having trouble staying in the lines use wiki sticks on the top and bottom lines so they will stay within the lines.
- Highlight the margins if they indicate where to start a sentence or so they don’t cram too many words on a page.
- A popsicle stick is a great tool for teaching spacing between words.
These are a few handy tricks of the trade, but if you are still concerned about your child’s handwriting, Little Scholars has teachers who can assist your child in building their handwriting confidence and improving their school performance. We are also offering several classes this summer to address handwriting issues. For more information, please contact us at 804-241-6006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.