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: