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Help with handwriting / pencil control YR 2

(9 Posts)
probablyveryunreasonable Thu 20-Oct-11 12:30:45

DS has just started year 2. He has only been at the new school since the end of last term and it seems that his handwriting is appalling - I had raised this with the old school but apparently it was fine angry

I have spoken to his teacher and we decided that as well as help in class, he would do 10 mins at home every day of handwriting practise. We have bought the books from WH Smith, but it seems that his basic pencil control is really lacking. So i've printed off sheets which are basically going over wiggly lines, but he obviously realises these are for younger children and is getting upset and doesn't want to try - he is ultra competetive and hates not being able to do something.

I have obviously explained to him that it's not his fault the last school didn't teach properly but that he needs to work hard now and it will start to some more naturally. It would be easier if there was something a little more fun or more grown up looking to practise on, football worksheets or something but I can't find anything.

Does anyone have any good ideas?

crazygracieuk Thu 20-Oct-11 14:17:28

What about doing mazes, word searches and crossword type puzzles instead? (I'm assuming that he is printing)

threadfairy Thu 20-Oct-11 14:24:26

How about something like this?

I bought it for my daughter over 2.5 years ago. Now she is 6 we still play against each other on it. You hold the wooden rod like a pencil which has a magnet in it and race against the other colour to guide the coloured balls around the maze. You need to be quite controlled and accurate.

This company has a whole section for young puzzlers on fine motor skills.

probablyveryunreasonable Thu 20-Oct-11 18:39:26

He does like word searches so could progree to cross words too. Basically a lot of his letters he starts in the wrong place as in he starts his 'd's at the top iyswim. When he tries to trace shapes etc his lines are all over the place. Teacher has actually sent hom some good sheets tonight, along with a chunkier pencil which I hadn't thought of, so will go and buy some.

That maze looks good, just his sort of thing!

mrz Thu 20-Oct-11 18:51:37

Does he have good pencil control? If he does then I would concentrate on teaching him the correct formation and forget the sheets they don't improve handwriting just pencil control.
If as you say he starts in the wrong place then the issue is formation so throw away the WHS and tracing and teach him on handwriting lined paper.

If he has poor pencil control

Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:

Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow (mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt "monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the "Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes, small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios, macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.

Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal, cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the outlines

Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles

Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop". Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt, sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory awareness in the hands.

Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

Activities To Develop Handwriting Skills
There are significant prerequisites for printing skills that begin in infancy and continue to emerge through the preschool years. The following activities support and promote fine motor and visual motor development:
Body Stability
The joints of the body need to be stable before the hands can be free to focus on specific skilled fine motor tasks.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, and wall push-ups.
Toys: Orbiter, silly putty, and monkey bars on the playground.

Fine Motor Skills
When a certain amount of body stability has developed, the hands and fingers begin to work on movements of dexterity and isolation as well as different kinds of grasps. Children will develop fine motor skills best when they work on a VERTICAL or near vertical surface as much as possible. In particular, the wrist must be in extension. (Bent back in the direction of the hand)
Attach a large piece of drawing paper to the wall. Have the child use a large marker and try the following exercises to develop visual motor skills:Make an outline of a one at a time. Have the child trace over your line from left to right, or from top to bottom. Trace each figure at least 10 times . Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times.
Play connect the dots. Again make sure the child's strokes connect dots fromleft to right, and from top to bottom.
Trace around stencils - the non-dominant hand should hold the stencil flat and stable against the paper, while the dominant hand pushes the pencil firmly against the edge of the stencil. The stencil must be held firmly.
Attach a large piece of felt to the wall, or use a felt board. The child can use felt shapes to make pictures. Magnetic boards can be used the same way.
Have the child work on a chalkboard, using chalk instead of a marker. Do the same kinds of tracing and modeling activities as suggested above.
Paint at an easel. Some of the modeling activities as suggested above can be done at the easel.
Magna Doodle- turn it upside down so that the erasing lever is on the . Experiment making vertical, horizontal, and parallel lines.

Ocular Motor Control
This refers to the ability of the eyes to work together to follow and hold an object in the line of vision as needed.
Use a flashlight against the ceiling. Have the child lie on his/her back or tummy and visually follow the moving light from left to right, to bottom, and diagonally.
Find hidden pictures in books. (There are special books for this.)
Maze activities.

Eye-hand Coordination
This involves accuracy in placement, direction, and spatial awareness.
Throw bean bags/kooshi balls into a hula hoop placed flat on the floor. Gradually increase the distance.
Play throw and catch with a ball . Start with a large ball and work toward a smaller ball. (Kooshi balls are easier to catch than a tennis ball.)
Practice hitting bowling pins with a ball. (You can purchase these games or make your own with pop bottles and a small ball.)
Play "Hit the Balloon" with a medium-sized balloon.

mrz Thu 20-Oct-11 18:56:34

probablyveryunreasonable Fri 21-Oct-11 10:49:41

Wow thank you mrz. I'm pretty sure he also has poor pencil control and the teacher seems to think so too, but I think it's possible he has got into very bad habits. In reception there didn't seem to be a problem at all. In year 1 the decline was pretty stark. He rushes his work, so that may be why he seems to have lack pencil control.

We did start on just the letter formation, but he is finding it hard so I thought maybe it was the pencil control too, but as he has been writing badly for a year, it's going to be a hard habit to break.

The teacher is of the opinion that we start again from the beginning, with the pencil control and then move onto the handwriting. Luckily, the teacher is fabulous and on the ball.

In your experience, can this be rectified? His handwriting is so bad compared to the others in the class and I feel like i've let him down by not moving school sooner.

mrz Fri 21-Oct-11 16:32:54

In my experience it is never too late to improve handwriting somehow my Y2 class have become convinced the best reward possible is to "do handwriting" for the final 10 mins before hometime and I've seen a massive improvement in 7 weeks.

IndigoBell Fri 21-Oct-11 16:55:07

DS has finally improved his handwriting - and he is in Y6!!!!!!!!!

Took an awful lot of work to get there, and an OT - but can be done.

(Of course it would have been a lot easier to improve if we'd started in Y1, not Y5 blush)

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