At the end of 2013 my top 5 Practical Pages posts for the year were:
It seems that most readers search for handwriting tips and Google leads them here! With this in mind, I thought I would share some practical handwriting tips.
Some important free handwriting downloads:
- My free 21 page comprehensive booklet Handwriting Tips Booklet has re-writing activities, physical games, skills, techniques and processes that we used to learn to write well.
- Teaching Print step-by-step booklet
Teach Large Letters Before Small
Handwriting is a fine motor activity. Young children need to be able to control large movements before they can control fine movements. Start your lessons with really big shapes before taking up a pencil and writing on paper.
Some simple physical pre-writing activities: (Make sure you have a clear, large handwriting chart available ~ download your free charts: Print Handwriting Charts):
- Ask your child to form letter shapes using ropes, hula hoops and rods on the ground.
- Let your children form the letter shape while lying on the ground using a hula hoop or skipping rope.
- Get 2 or more children to form letter shapes while standing up or lying down. This is a fun, physical exercise!
- Draw letters and shapes large in the air. Kids love to use pool noodles and make the letters huge!
- Draw letters in sand with a stick – outside in the sandbox, or inside on a sand table, or on a baking tray with sand/ flour/ rice and a stick or drinking straw.
- Draw letters on glass windows in shaving cream. This is FUN! Let them first cover the window and smear the shaving cream, then do the writing activity, then wipe it off with a towel.
- Draw white board markers on a big white board. Use thick markers on a large board before using a thinner marker on a smaller board.
Use clear, descriptive auditory commands for these exercises:
- Use the words up, down, left, right
- Make sure the shapes just touch, cross through, reach down, curl around, curl under
- Use words such as first …, then …, now …
- Use descriptive comparisons such as as round as a ball, as tall as 2 balls stacked on top, curled like an umbrella handle, hanging like a happy monkey on a branch, like a top hat on a head
- Make very WIDE lines on blank paper. Divide a jotter page into half lengthways and divide into 3rds across. Now use each block to draw the letter/ shape so it touches top, sides and bottom of each block.
- Fold blank paper into quarters and mark the lines. Teach patterns on these wide lines.
- Next use 17mm lined books (order yours at your local stationery shop)
Use a picture reminder in the margin:
- Use 3 lines for each letter –draw a “man” or a cat in the margin with a circle touching the top and bottom of the head lines, the body in the body line and legs or a tail in the tail line. In all your lessons refer to where each shape or letter starts, touches, and ends.
- After sufficient practice and mastery, your child can graduate to ordinary feint and margin lined pages, still using 3 lines for each letter. Draw a man/ cat in the margin as above.
- Finally, towards 3rd grade, you can use Irish lined paper (these are the narrow lined pages) for written work, still using 3 lines for each letter. To save time, teach your child to draw a dot for the head (●) and a dash (/) for the body and blank for the legs in the margin.
Hope these tips help!
Blessings as you teach your children to write! Please share or ask questions in the comments below.