Handwriting Tips & Tricks

 


-For younger students learning their letters, provide boxes for them to fit their letters in and a start dot.  Stress quality over quantity: Writing the same letter 5 times or so with correct size and formation is better than writing the letter 10 times + incorrectly.  By the same token, letter tracing worksheets can be ineffective if the child is not learning to form the letter properly in the first place.  Encourage your child to copy letters instead of tracing.  This teaches them the correct motor plan they need to remember for writing the letter.


-Always encourage your child to start all  their letters at the top.


-Practice writing letters on each others backs with your finger, let the other person guess what letter it is.


-Form letters using beans, shaving cream, play dough, pipe cleaners


-While you can never replace using a pencil and paper, there are some popular iPad apps to practice letter formation.  This should be used with caution, and only if your child is particularly resistant and/or frustrated with handwriting or continues to struggle despite trying other activities.  Amazon sells small, chunky stylus’ that would help to mimic using a regular writing instrument.  Some good apps include: Letter School, iWrite and Letter Reflex.


-Highlight a line for your child to fit a word on or if a child is writing a sentence, make lines for each word to fit on.  For older students, highlighting the margins on their paper can assist with organization.


-“Spaghetti & Meatballs”- I teach students that you should be able to fit only a thin piece of spaghetti between letters in a word.  A meatball goes in between your words.  When first learning to write sentences, have your child draw a meatball or make a dot in between words, then erase it later.  You can also use your finger, a popsicle stick or your pencil to space between words.


-Encourage your child to check their own work for handwriting errors.  Have them circle their best handwriting as well as any letters that could be fixed or when they go off the lines.


-Allow your child to do their homework in standing with the homework taped to a wall or easel.  This not only promotes more active engagement after sitting in school all day, but proper wrist extension and pencil grasp needed for fluent handwriting.


-Some 3rd and even 4th/5th graders need to continue to use 3 lined paper to help with letter sizing and organization.