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DS Y1 with "problem" handwriting, can anyone recommend workbooks, exercises or anything else please.

(25 Posts)
Kat1973 Fri 17-Apr-15 22:37:45

Bookmarking for that fab list.

dyspraxicmumof1 Fri 17-Apr-15 08:38:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

accessorizequeen Sun 17-Mar-13 23:35:57

I just wanted to thank mrz for that absolutely fantastic list of activities to try. DS1 (9) has some motor skills issues that are yet to be identified and his joined up writing is appalling. I'm pleased to find some ideas I can easily persuade him to try!

rumncoke Thu 14-Mar-13 21:07:46

Stickwithit, I totally know what your going through and how you feel. My son is able in everything but his handwriting is awful and he loathes writing. I posted on here when he was in yr 1 and mrz you were very helpful to me then. A year on and teacher had a word with me last week saying my ds1 hadnt gone up a sub level at all this year, yet, in writing and has given me and him extra homework to do. It so tricky as he just does not want to do it. But the big list above mrz is really helpful. I do think my ds1 has some fine motor skills issues as he is shocking with a knife and fork still, and not so good at catching either.
will do some of the above with him and hoping it will help him, not for the levels, but for him. He was moved down in handwriting groups to couple weeks ago and that has really knocked him.

mrz Wed 13-Mar-13 19:51:11

If using a pencil I would recommend a 2B rather than a Hb as it offers less resistance over paper so easier to make a mark.

I would also avoid tracing over dotty letters etc and teach correct formation in the school style using writing lines ensuring letters start and end in the correct position.

Write from the Start can work really well
For older children Speed up is a good alternative.

mrz Wed 13-Mar-13 19:46:09

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.

Stickwithit Wed 13-Mar-13 17:23:11

Thank you for all the great suggestions. I have taken the plunge and orders Write From The Start from Amazon.

I will post properly later, I'm posting from my phone ATM so will keep it brief.

Thank you again.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 13-Mar-13 14:16:45

DS1 found these helped too as they encourage the correct grip.

cityangel Wed 13-Mar-13 14:04:56

I don't think its fair that the school place all the onus on you. Ours sent home handwriting books with weekly exercises to copy. Could you ask them to take you through the Y1 or if needed Reception exercises they do so that if needed you could photocopy them to redo or order workbooks for home. I'd ask for the SENCO to assess him there's nothing lost and that could also get the school more involved.

ateacherwrites Wed 13-Mar-13 13:55:21

Could be dyspraxia. Either way, try printing these off, for free. If you google handwriting worksheets, that can help, though the sites are messy and full of ads. So this page shows you how.

ReallyTired Wed 13-Mar-13 13:50:12

These are really good pens. Its a pity that they are usually only sold in class pack.

I have bought a couple of packs of 12 with the hope it will see ds through secondary.

VonHerrBurton Wed 13-Mar-13 13:14:11

Is he allowed to use a pen instead of a pencil? Was a bit of a lightbulb moment for my ds as he always struggled. The pen along with lined paper to help him size up letters really helped.

Forcing him to write and complete tasks or miss playtime DID NOT help (yes, y2 teacher, im talking to you!)

He's in y5 now and his writing isn't the best in the class, never will be, but because he finds it physically easier and is under less pressure he is happier to put his thoughts to paper rather than think ' oh noooooo - writing!!!'

ReallyTired Tue 12-Mar-13 22:57:14

interesting link

shrinkingnora Tue 12-Mar-13 22:55:25

Which seems to be the same thing! I've used it with lots of kids with great results.

shrinkingnora Tue 12-Mar-13 22:53:24

Teodorescue perceptuo motor programme is very good.

MareeyaDolores Tue 12-Mar-13 22:47:41


ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 12-Mar-13 15:13:00

My son saw an Occupational Therapist which really did help. As RT suggest I would work on fine and gross motor skills as well. Lego is also good as are hama beads even scrunching up paper, tearing up cardboard all helps. One suggestion I saw on another thread is give your child a large paintbrush (decorating brush) and a bucket of water and let them paint outside walls or fences with water using both hands.

One basic thing, have you had his eyes tested?

ReallyTired Tue 12-Mar-13 14:47:41

There is a window of opportunity up to about the age of seven to develop visual perception and interventions like "Write from the Start" are less sucessful after 8 years old. The brain goes through different phases of development and some skills are taught more easily to young chidlren.

Many children are taught hand writing before they are developmentally ready. Helping children get developmentally ready is more productive than hand writing sheets.

I suppose a lot depends on how dire your son's writing is. My son's handwriting was assessed as being on 3rd centile according an occupational theraphist. My son had 15 minutes a day with TA for a term in year 1.

Building up upper body strength is important. Activites like monkey bars or gymnastics help. Alternative standing up and using an easel, playing with playdough, threading and running about also help little boys.

Trizelda Tue 12-Mar-13 14:38:47

My son has always struggled with handwriting. We moved him to a new school in year 3 for various reasons and a teacher there gave him lots of extra practice but it didn't really make much of a difference.
He is now approaching GCSEs and as I was concerned that his writing could prevent him getting the grades he should, I spoke to the SENCO at school. She has been really good at isolating the problems and working on them one at a time eg spacing, the letter 's'. Although there has been an improvement he is going to use a laptop for any GCSEs that involve large chunks of writing.
In year 1 I would think there is still plenty of time for things to resolve themselves naturally but maybe keep an eye on things and speak to the SENCO if things don't improve?

hippo123 Tue 12-Mar-13 14:33:14

I wouldn't put to much pressured on him. Have you tried different types of pencil grips? I would encourage him to do mazes, dot to dots and drawing, it's all about pencil control after all. I have also started writing little notes to my ds and trying to encourage him to write me one back. When he does I give loads of positive praise, even if spelling etc is wrong. He's doing well in other areas, I'm sure his writing will improve with time. At the end of reception ds teacher admitted his writing was way behind. Have just had parents evening in year 1 and his handwriting is heading towards average.

ReallyTired Tue 12-Mar-13 14:28:50

write from the start dramatically improved my son's writing and drawing skills. It works by improving the child's visual perception and fine motor skills.

Sometimes I think handwriting sheets can be counter productive. In many circumstances children are better going back to pre hand writing skills and Write from the Start develops these skills.

Paddlinglikehell Tue 12-Mar-13 14:21:49

Dd had handwriting sheets, I would write out silly rhymes and she would copy them. The lines helped her realise the size of the letters in relation to each other.

Can you make up rhymes or limericks together and you write them, he copies? Five or six lines was enough, but we would do it every night, progress was literally seen within a few weeks.

Still18atheart Tue 12-Mar-13 14:12:00

make a dotted outline of the letters and ask him to join the dots

write letters in highlighter, (I know this will make the letters, a bit big,) and ask him to go over

My writing was atrocious and this is what my mum used to do with me to practice

HorribleMother Tue 12-Mar-13 14:01:59

Anything you can do to make a game out of it. Like if you wrote a word and he traced over it or had to copy it in the same size (try to get his letters same size to start).

I made mine write to get computer game time, but he was older, 8yo.

Stickwithit Tue 12-Mar-13 13:48:52

Just had parents evening for DS. Feedback was that his handwriting in incredibly scruffy, letter formation poor and erratic.

His teacher said he is excelling in all other areas. He joins Y2 for phonics and numeracy, and us reading at gold level. However, his handwriting is holding him back.

I'm no expert but I can see that his writing is very messy. He is able to form all letters, but they range from massive to tiny, they are out of proportion and generally all over the place. It can be very hard to read his writing.

It seems that his school run all sorts of intervention programmes for phonics, reading, literacy and behavioural issues. However there is nothing for handwriting.

His teacher asked that we try to help him at home. I'm struggling with getting him to form neatish consistent letters, and he hates practising. He's generally a lovely enthusiastic happy boy, but I the only success I have had with this is via being very very firm, standing over him and forcing him to concentrate. When I get strict it does seem like he tries harder and his writing gets better. This approach works but it feels unnecessarily harsh as he's only 6.

Can anyone suggest how best I can help him please. His fine motor skills seem pretty good so I don't think that is the problem.

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