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activities


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Handwriting enhancement – 4 to 12 years

There are many reasons why some children have difficulty learning how to form letters and numbers, and how to write neatly. There are lots of fun ways to make this important skill easier.



Come and have fun with handwriting enhancement  for toddlers, preschool, daycare and kindergarten . There are various developmental benefits associated with learning various techniques in handwriting.

Learning Letters

  • Learn about the handwriting curriculum that is being taught to your child at school.  If your child is struggling, ask the teacher for worksheets you can practice on at home.  Letters in print should be written from top to bottom and from left to right.
  • Pre-write letters on paper and have the child trace over them with glue (squeeze bottle type)
  • form letters by gluing beans, rice, seeds, etc. on paper
  • form letters with putty, play doh, clay, modelling compound, etc.
  • write letters with a vibrating pen; this additional sensory input will enhance the child’s memory for letter formation

Writing letters from top to bottom (printing/manuscript)

  • Forming letters to write words in a consistent direction is the most efficient way to write.  For printing, the top-down method is
    best.
  • Review all of the “Learning Letter” activities above.  Emphasize starting at the top and working from left to right.
  • Make up a song or a chant about starting letters at the type.  
  • Write letters in the air with the pointer finger and with large arm movements.  Try it with eyes closed, then eyes open.

Writing on Lines

      In many Kindergarten classrooms, children begin to write on paper without lines.  Eventually lines are introduced, sometimes
      around mid-year.  If your child has difficulty using writing lines effectively, here are some strategies that we use:

  • Highlight the bottom half of the line.  Instruct the child to “stay in the yellow” (or whatever colored was used) for all the small
    letters; tall letters start at the top line and descending letters dive down from the middle.
  • Darken the lines to increase awareness; sometimes copying paper on the darkest setting will make the lines easier to see.

Awareness of Margins

  • Highlight the left margin to increase the child’s awareness of where to begin and continue sentences.
  • Highlight the right margin if the child tends to cram in words at the ends of the lines.
  • Teach child to place a ruler at the left margin; remind him/her to return to the ruler to continue sentences.

Spacing

  • Teach child to “finger space”: place his/her left index finger (if right handed) after each word he writes
  • For lefties, it’s better to space with an object, such as a popsicle stick

Grip on Pencil

  • People hold pencils and other writing tools in a variety of ways.  The most common grip is called a “tripod” grip.  This involves
    pinching the pencil between the pads of the thumb and index finger while the pencil rests on the side of the middle finger.

Posture for Writing

  • Ideal sitting posture for writing is to be upright in the chair with the hips and knees at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.  The elbows should be bent at 90 degrees or less.  When the arms are straight down at the sides, the desktop should be about halfway between the shoulder and elbow or lower. 
  • The head should be a reasonable distance from the paper, about 12 to 20 inches.