Learning to write by hand is often a long and arduous process. Handwriting integrates brain development, letter recognition, and fine motor skills. All of these areas working together help your child master the skill of writing letters and words.
Some students excel in one aspect of handwriting while finding another aspect more difficult, so it’s important to know your student’s strengths and weaknesses so you can help them become better at writing.
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks that will help you guide your child in developing better handwriting skills:
As always, one of the best ways to get your child ready for academics is to read aloud regularly, especially in the early years.
Point to words, both in books and in “real life.” Help your child with letter recognition by teaching the alphabet.
It’s also important for a child to develop the muscle strength needed for handwriting. Have him strengthen his hand muscles by encouraging him to color, draw, and paint frequently.
Other activities that build hand strength include playing with blocks or other small toys, cutting with scissors, and playing with Play-Doh.
It’s best to have your child seated at a table that’s just above her elbow height. Pediatric handwriting specialist Cheryl Bergman suggests using a three-ring binder or having your child stand at an easel to learn how to properly support a pencil with her hand.
If your child is sitting, encourage her to put both feet on the floor. If she’s been practicing writing for awhile and is ready to learn how to hold a pencil correctly, give her a short pencil or fat crayon to help her learn the appropriate grip—grasping with fingertips, not making a fist.
Instead of having your child trace the letters of her name, write it for her and have her copy it beneath your version. This way she’ll more easily see each letter as a whole instead of as individual lines.
Don’t worry about correcting every wobbly letter your child writes. Encourage him that practice makes perfect. Learning to write is a process, and the letter recognition and muscle memory will continue to develop over time. Just keep practicing and make it fun.