We may not realize it because we've been doing it for so long, but handwriting is complicated. It is a great feat when a child can hold a pencil and write letters, words, and sentences without it looking like scribbledee-gook. But not every child or adult gets handwriting on the first or second go. And sometimes a child's handwriting gets overlooked in the learning process until one day the parent or teacher notices that the handwriting isn't as good as it should be.
If your child's handwriting needs improvement, then I recommend following these steps to get your child's handwriting looking better.
Addressing Mechanical Issues
The first that you want to do is make sure that your child is sitting properly and holding the pencil in the right manner. Grip, posture and even paper position are critical for comfortable, legible writing. If your child is holding the pencil wrong, this may result in illegible letters, hand cramps, and slowed writing. I've included a video below to show you about proper grip. Your child should also be slanting the paper in the opposite direction of the hand that she writes with...it should be at an angle. Some of my favorite handwriting programs are Handwriting Without Tears and Zaner-Bloser.
Addressing Spelling and Lettering Issues
One of the most common problems faced in handwriting is letter reversal and spelling issues. Many kids reverse letters such as b and d,as well as p and q. But you don't need to worry about these issues so long as they are occurring before the age of 8 and they are exposed to heavy amounts of reading. Why? Well, most kids stop doing this around the age of seven or eight. And it tends to stop once kids become reading on a daily basis.
If your child has lots of spelling issues,, you may want to consider reintroducing a phonics program. Seriously! Even if the child is older. Some evidence is now showing that poor memory of basic phonemes and larger syllable sounds. My favorite phonics program is Wise's Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I have found that this guide combined with an extensive amount of exposure to reader books has helped my child learn how to spell. Once you have a grip on the fundamentals, then you should introduce a basic spelling program that reinforces the most words in the English language.
Focus On Something Else
Sometimes the best way to improve a skill is to not focus on it at all.At least directly that is. If your child struggles with letter writing, have her draw straight lines, curves, and other doodling. Your child will love to draw and doodle because it's fun, but what you are really doing is helping your child to improve her dexterity, her penmanship, and her control of the writing tool. Ha! Take that handwriting.
Other Tools That Will Help
Try using some of these tools to help your child with handwriting:
Ever find yourself finishing a lengthy chapter only to discover that you can’t remember anything that you’ve just read? Reading for retention, is more than just getting from the beginning of a chapter to the end. Effective reading is all about attention and focus. It gives the mind time to absorb the material. But how does one do that? Use these two reading strategies, metacognition and active reading, kids (and adults) can teach themselves to become effective readers.
Metacognition is a reading strategy that allows the reader to take control over their reading by thinking through the text. This strategy requires the reader to think about the text before, during, and after.
How It Works
Prior to reading, the reader clarifies the purpose for the reading the material. I a kid is reading a biology chapter about genetics, she may write down that she is reading the chapter to better understand meiosis and gene inheritance. I suggest having a reading notebook for every subject, and for every chapter read, a page should be used to write down the purpose of reading the chapter (or book if a child is very young).
Monitoring comprehension while reading through the text is a major component of metacognition. The reader marks difficult passages in the notebook or directly onto the text. For example, if a concept in the text doesn’t make sense, the reader may jot down, “I don’t understand the concept on page nine” in his notes. At this point, the reader should either reread the concept and attempt to make sense of it, or go back to it after completing the rest of the material.
Upon completion of the text, the reader checks her understanding of the text. During this stage, the reader needs to identify what was difficult to understand and work to understand the author's intention. It is important that the reader understand that chapter before moving any further.
Active reading uses several reading strategies to help readers gain as much understanding of the text as possible. Students should always have a pen and notebook handy. Active reading expects the reader to engage with the text fully. Active reading requires a quiet study space to be effective.
How It Works
Learning New Vocabulary
The reader writes down and looks up the definitions of unknown words or concepts in the material.
Take Effective Notes
Ask questions and take notes.
Rather than highlighting important material make comments, notes, and asking questions in a notebook. Don't forget to jot down the page number. Notes can be fragments or summaries of the reading.
Readers should use the headings within the text as the organizational structure for their notes.
See it Young Padawan
For added understanding, active readers should create outlines, diagrams, and flow charts to connect concepts. Think mind mapping...
At the end of an essay or chapter, students write a one-page summary with several examples to show that they understand the material. It works.