Related Resources Young writers need to experience sustained and successful writing.
Louise Spear-Swerling After a long period of neglect in education, attention to teaching handwriting in the primary grades may finally be returning. This attention can benefit many youngsters, including those with learning disabilities LDs involving handwriting, which may accompany reading disabilities, writing disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Although word-processing programs and assistive technology are undeniably boons to children with writing problems, technological advances do not eliminate the need for explicit teaching of handwriting.
Furthermore, very modest amounts of instructional time in the earliest grades — kindergarten and grade one — may help to prevent later writing difficulties for many children.
Why handwriting is important Contrary to the view that handwriting is a trivial skill, handwriting actually is important for a number of reasons. One involves the concept of mental resources to which I have alluded in several other columns, in relation to reading and mathematics as well as writing.
Just as effortful word decoding may impair reading comprehension, or lack of automatic recall may reduce the mental resources available for learning advanced computational algorithms in math, labored handwriting creates a drain on mental resources needed for higher-level aspects of writing, such as attention to content, elaboration of details, and organization of ideas.
Because handwriting is a basic tool used in many subjects — taking notes, taking tests, and doing classroom work and homework for almost every content area as well as in language arts classes — poor handwriting can have a pervasive effect on school performance. Moreover, when handwriting is perceived as arduous and time-consuming, motivation to write may be greatly reduced, leading to a lack of practice that may further compound difficulties with writing.
Finally, handwriting in the earliest grades is linked to basic reading and spelling achievement; for example, when children learn how to form the letter m, they can also be learning its sound.
Attention to the linkages among handwriting, reading, and spelling skills can help to reinforce early achievement across these areas. Back to Top Manuscript or cursive? At one time, manuscript print writing was typically taught in first grade, whereas cursive was introduced later, usually in third grade.
Historically, some authorities argued for the superiority of one form over the other for children with LDs, most often for the superiority of cursive over manuscript. However, there is little evidence that cursive is easier to learn than manuscript, and there are clear advantages to having children focus on the form of writing similar to what they must read in print.
Most critically, children should be able to use at least one form to produce legible, reasonably effortless writing, and instruction should focus on the form that appears most likely to lead to that outcome, especially for older children with handwriting difficulties.
Assessment of handwriting skills Assessment of handwriting should incorporate observations of execution, legibility, and speed of writing. Execution includes correct and consistent pencil hold, posture, and letter formation. Counterproductive habits in these latter areas are not always obvious from looking only at writing samples and can greatly impede progress in handwriting.
For instance, young children may "draw" a letter such as m using separate strokes, starting on the right side of the letter. Forming the letter beginning on the left side, without lifting the pencil from the paper, is much more conducive to building eventual speed of writing.
Legibility involves the readability of letters, as well as spacing within and between words. Speed is important as children advance beyond the first few grades so that they can use writing efficiently in a variety of tasks. If children have learned both manuscript and cursive, as is often the case with older youngsters, then assessment should consider the execution, legibility, and speed of both forms of writing.
Back to Top Instruction in handwriting Relatively modest investments of instructional time devoted to handwriting — perhaps the equivalent of ten or fifteen minutes daily — may pay off in preventing later writing problems, including difficulties with higher-level composition skills.
The early years of schooling are especially critical for handwriting instruction; once children have formed counterproductive habits in handwriting, such as poor pencil hold or inefficient letter formation, those habits can be difficult to change.
Even for young children, however, handwriting instruction should occur in the context of a broader program of written expression in which children learn many other writing skills and develop motivation to write.
Of course, children also should have access to word-processing programs and assistive technology, with appropriate accommodations as needed for individual students. Here are a few specific suggestions for teaching handwriting: Teach children consistent formation of letters using a continuous stroke if possible.
Children should learn a highly consistent way to form a given letter every time they write it. Although some letters, such as f and t, require lifting the pencil from the paper to make a second stroke, teach letter formation using a continuous stroke without lifting the pencil from the paper when possible.
For example, teach children to write the letter b by starting at the top with a vertical stroke, then making the loop to the right without lifting the pencil, rather than having children form the vertical line and the loop in separate strokes.
Focus initially on learning the motor pattern rather than perfect legibility or size. When children are learning to form a new letter, it is helpful to begin with large movements such as forming the letter in the air; have children use a sweeping movement with the entire arm, not just the hand.
This initial practice should emphasize learning the motor pattern with correct formation of the letter e. Teach similarly formed letters together, and use an instructional sequence that takes into account both ease of formation and frequency in words.
For instance, the manuscript letters c, a, and d all begin with the same loop and can be taught in one group; i should be taught before y because it is simpler to form and is needed more frequently to write words. Separate reversible letters such as b and d. Children appear less likely to confuse visually similar letters if they have learned one letter of a confusable pair well prior to introduction of the other letter of the pair.School Font.
Tip: Make your font lighter so the words can be traced. Jul 22, · Earlier this year, the realms of law and new media collided when Lori Drew was hit with federal charges for creating a fake MySpace page and harassing a .
Handwriting Worksheets A to Z Qld font. These handwriting sheets are B&W and cover A to Z in Qld font. We have provided a sample for you to try. Preschool and Kindergarten Pre-Printing Skills Practice  [Introduction] [Printable WorksheetsAge Rating. All children develop as individuals.
Parents and caregivers should use the age ratings below as a general guideline, taking the abilities, temperament and interests of their children into account. Activities for Children • Raise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags • Invite Indigenous elders to visit • Prepare damper or Indigenous dishes.
Home educating families face the same objections and get asked the same questions over and again. Beverley draws on her 3 decades of experience to help parents feel confident when answering the many objections and comments relatives, friends and strangers raise.