- Are you worried about your child’s handwriting?
- Has your child spent hours practising handwriting and they are not improving as you would expect them to?
- Do you have a preschooler that is just starting to learn about letters and would like to know more about handwriting and how you can help?
This article sets out to:
- Break down the task of handwriting by highlighting the main areas impacting on correct letter formation and handwriting legibility;
- Discuss in more detail the topic of letter formation.
Some of the main factors that impact handwriting legibility and that need to be addressed/corrected, if a child has difficulty around handwriting, are:
- Does the child know the letter’s name, how the letter looks like, can he recognise and retrieve it on request?
- Is the child able to place the letters on the line?
- Can the child write between the provided lines in their notebook?
- Does the child know the correct starting point of the letter?
- Does the child know the steps involved in writing a particular letter (do they know the strokes sequence that needs to be followed)?
All the above can impact on a child’s ability to write and also their handwriting legibility. Only by observing the child writing and/or assessing their written work can we start to understand which of the above is hindering learning and proper handwriting development. (NOTE: handwriting legibility is also influenced by the child’s pencil grasps, a topic not addressed in this article).
Letter formation – starting point and sequencing.
The starting point of a letter is very important as it sets the scene to successful letter formation, thus done correctly, the rest of the letter follows smoothly. A good tip to remember is to tell your child that “all letters start from the top”.
Next comes sequencing, which is basically “all the steps” (aka strokes) needed to write the letter. This is where some children are having difficulty especially if they are not visual learners. For example, writing the letters on a worksheet and asking the child to practice might not be easy if they have not memorised “the steps” of writing that particular letter.
There are a number of methodologies specialised in teaching handwriting and in our practice we use “Handwriting Without Tears”. The reason we prefer this program is two-folded. Firstly the program has a multi sensory approach to handwriting by using different mediums to teach letters and secondly it teaches the child how to form letters by matching each letter with a verbal set of instructions rather than relying on visual cues of the letter. To illustrate, if a letter has a long stoke like letter p, the instruction starts with “dive down and swim up” and so on. This way when the child has to represent/copy a letter it does not have to rely solely on visual recall, but by remembering the instructions associated with the letter can quickly put it together.
If you would like more information about our handwriting program for preschoolers, occupational therapy, or would like to enquire about our services, please contact us at EquipKids. We would love to hear from you and are always happy to have a chat.
Next article will focus on “Getting organised for school – new routines and habits” so stay tuned.