When I was 3 and 4 years old I loved to write and draw. You never saw me without pencil and paper growing up. Now, in the age of computers, tablets, and mobile phones handwriting, isn’t a skill valued as much. The weight of what your handwriting says about you, is no longer as significant because most people spend a small amount of their time practicing it. Some public skills have even removed handwriting and penmanship from their curriculum. We may all agree that handwriting is still important, at least at some level, so our children should still learn how to write legibly. This post will help give you tips to help your child have fun while improving his or her handwriting.
Even if your children aren’t homeschooled. It is important to take time to help them learn how to write; especially because our technology isn’t infallible so there will come a day when he or she will need to write something that will be read by someone else.
First, I must be honest and tell you, my children’s penmanship was very poor last year. They hated writing and I hated teaching it. I didn’t make them practice much because our curriculum was either online or mostly verbal memory work. But it was during my portfolio review that I realized, my kids need to have more written work and they need to learn how to write well. I didn’t like teaching handwriting, it was my least favorite subject to have my kids practice. My lackadaisical attitude towards handwriting rubbed off on my children.
Writing came natural to me, so I didn’t understand why my children didn’t excel at it on their own like I did. Truthfully, I had almost forgotten the time that my mother and older sister spent teaching me how to form my letters properly. I forgot the poetry books that my mom asked me to copy. When I thought about it, growing up I had fun writing in school because I had so much practice prior to entering kindergarten. Penmanship was fun because I had already refined this skill at home.
When I realized that I had to change my attitude in order for my children to learn the joy of writing I thought about it and looked up ways that we could make handwriting fun. Now, I praise their writing efforts and stopped shaming them (horrible right). I took them from where their skill level was and showed them how it could be. When they write, I write more as well. Letting my children see me enjoying writing and writing neatly, had a positive effect on them. Now their writing has improved tremendously.
What are some great ways to help your child with penmanship?
Preschool aged child – make it fun!
- Improve their fine motor skills by encouraging hand strengthening activities (see these sites: KizOccupationalTherapy.com and OT Mom Learning Activities)
- Write down things your child says and show it to him or her.
- Shaving Cream in a metal baking tin or a plastic container.
- Sand / salt boxes
- Letter tracing
- Use side walk chalk
- Use a magna doodle or boogie board
- Encourage your child to draw – drawing will help them practice holding a writing instrument like a pencil, crayon, marker, or pen.
Elementary school aged child – provide words of affirmation
- Journal writing – We use the books pictured for journaling, but writing a little each day has helped them tremendously.
- Copy Work – Try giving your child pre-written material to copy. Use lined paper to help them know how to separate their upper and lower-case letters.
- Completing Work books
- Writing letters
- Teach your child to draw
- Make cards
- Help your child write a story
Side note: If your child is having trouble viewing material in a book or focusing on a page. He or she may need a guide like focus cards to help them concentrate on the correct words.
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— Cleverly Changing (@Cleverlychangin) November 10, 2015
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