We’ve all been there… open up their books hoping that what’s written on the page resembles some form of letters, or maybe even a word or two! But no! Alas! You can’t read a thing! Not with all these reversed letters, no clear spaces and the odd letter running between 2 lines! Surely this isn’t right?
Well luckily for you, we’ve found the secret to perfectly legible handwriting! A little warning, children will be muddy… and you may get mad.
1.A little mud goes a long way
What more do children love doing? Climbing trees, playing in mud, and getting covered in paint. Although a difficult task for mum to fully get rid of the stains these activities are great for developing the child’s ability to know where their hands are in space [proprioceptive skills], and should certainly be encouraged. In participating in these activities children are able to strengthen the connections between the brain and the hands, build up hand strength and deepen their understanding of where they are in space.
2. Get out the Lego! Just watch where you stand…
Ouch! That’s the third time today you’ve left your Lego pieces on the stairs Jimmy! As annoying as it may be, building, snapping and shaping LEGO and other similar blocks is an excellent way to not only build up the strength in your little ones hands, but also to improve how they see shapes, space and size. All of which are needed to accurately control the pencil and form letters correctly along the page.
3.The right grip
Pencil grip is important! But you already knew that right? … So why am I mentioning it you may ask?
Well depending on the age of the child pencil grips can be changed with the correct guidance and strategies. If a child has a dysfunctional grip it is usually a sign that there is weakness in the hands … get rolling and pinching play dough and building brick towers to build up those little hands. The optimum grip is where the pencil is held by between the thumb and index finger, whilst resting against the middle finger.
4.Lots of puzzles… and why they work
Puzzles, Jigsaw’s, dot to dots, mazes are all great ways to build up how children see and perceive the shapes and forms around them, or to be more technical – their visual perception skills. There are two parts of the puzzle to producing good handwriting, firstly a child needs to be able to move the pencil fluently with the right grip, and secondly, they need to be able to correctly copy shapes and space this appropriately on the page. After all, any language in any form is just a lot of random lines stuck together to make letters and words. Children need to learn to interpret and form these lines correctly to produce legible writing.
Yes … We all remember that one nagging person who would shout at you to sit upright position in your chair, with your bum at the back of the seat. Children sit bolt upright, fingers on lips! Until the teacher turns around again that is…and they’re straight back slumped down further into their chair than before!
But all that nagging and nagging done by teachers and parents alike is true! Children need to be encouraged to sit in a functional position to free up the hands when completing writing tasks. A functional position is one with an upright posture, feet flat on the floor, and their bum to the back of the chair.
So there you have it… To write neatly, children need a little mud, a lot of puzzles, the right grip and posture, and lots and lots of LEGO!
If you would like more information on how handwriting can be improved, or how you as a teacher/parent can help your children develop the skills needed for writing. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0330 223 0888.