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Reassure me all totally normal YR handwriting for summer boy

(23 Posts)
LL0015 Mon 15-Dec-14 21:22:56

DC1 is an artistic girl, who easily wrote her name before reception.
DC2 is a word loving very 'smart regarding his surroundings' boy.

There's only a matter of weeks between their birthdays, both summer born, 3 years apart.

My DS has zero handwriting skills at this point in reception year. Can't write his name (4 letters fairly easy with a d and y)
I had noticed before he tends on being ambidextrous with cutlery, toys etc. Seems mainly to choose right for a pen.
He has no grip and an airy fairy hand. And can't form his letters. At all.

Is this completely normal? Bottom end of normal? At what point would you worry about a clever boy not writing his name in reception. I don't compare my children but I actually think he's smarter than his sister so I'm a little worried.

cornflakegirl Mon 15-Dec-14 21:27:34

DS1 is very bright, summer born, and still had a fist grip when he started reception. He has beautiful handwriting now (if he thinks about it), although still doesn't enjoy writing.

mrz has posted lists on several threads of fun activities that help build hand muscles and fine motor skills.

laterplease Mon 15-Dec-14 21:36:05

I have a very bright 13 year old who has always struggled with writing - August birthday! Ask the teacher for their opinion and help - they see loads of kids at the same stage and will have an instinctive feeling for whether your son is struggling more than he should be. Encourage him to use the computer for typing letters if forming them with a pencil is still too hard, or offer to write for him so he can use his language skills creatively, We even resulted to recording him speaking stories as a way of keeping up and accessing the curriculum when his imagination was way ahead of his limited writing skills. Aged 13 he can now write fast and just about legibly if you squint! Good luck, and don't worry to much.

snowpo Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:22

Sounds similar to mine. DS is yr1 and poor pencil control, can write words but all over the place. He could write his name in reception but it hasn't really improved. DD is reception and her writing is better than DS. They are both august born, 11 months apart.
It doesn't worry me, I just figure his muscles aren't ready for it yet. Interesting about the ambidextrous thing though cos DS was always a bit like that & we weren't sure which hand he's go with.

Ferguson Mon 15-Dec-14 22:27:19

Retired TA here - does he try drawing, colouring-in, painting? Is he learning letter sounds, and making some attempt at phonics and reading?

Has he only been at school since September, and did he have any nursery/preschool experience?

If he is happy, and joins in play and other activities, I wouldn't worry too much. Some children do start off extremely slowly in Reception.

goshhhhhh Mon 15-Dec-14 22:39:35

I have a bright yr4 summer boy. His writing only became properly legible this year. All normal I think although hard not to worry! Also there seems to be a thing about neat handwriting & intelligence! I should tell my brother & his illegible scrawl. He will laugh whilst counting his very large bonus - given to keep him in his very clever technical job.

LL0015 Mon 15-Dec-14 22:51:28

He is well up with his phonics, knows almost all of them, can blend and read cvc and ccvc words so reading is all good and I know where I'm at!

Writing! I'm bewildered. He cannot and will not colour in. So it is from scratch. He's been in preschool since age 2 (paid then free 15 hours a week)

catkind Tue 16-Dec-14 01:50:54

He's very young! I say don't worry, but do help him sort it out.

My DS is a May birthday and found writing a real struggle last year. He also didn't have a proper pencil grip (or rather, preschool had taught him one but he mostly didn't use it). Wasn't interested in drawing or colouring or anything at preschool age, preschool still thought he might be left handed when he left (he isn't). His first real attempts at representative drawing were around when he started school. He's in Year 1 now and has caught up fine. This weekend he sat down and did xmas cards all by himself in beautiful joined up cursive! I'd never have believed it this time last year when he was struggling to write his name. It's amazing how they come on once they get interested.

You can do all sorts of things to help them with fine motor skills. Start big - drawing with a finger in a tray of flour, paintbrush on a garden fence, stick in the sandpit. Playdough, lego, pinboards, hama beads, picking things up with tweezers games. DS used to like doing mazes, that's good drawing practice without requiring creativity. For writing, DS started with tracing letters - school sent us a template with their letter formation and he got interested in practicing that, and we would also print words out for him in a matching font so he could "write" captions for his pictures.

diamondage Tue 16-Dec-14 08:42:50

It's always worth checking hyper-mobility - search on-line there are some very simple checks you can do at home to rule this in/out and hyper-mobile hand joints can make writing much more of a challenge.

Iggly Tue 16-Dec-14 09:28:36

My ds plays a lot with lego which helps with his fine motor skills. He can write a bit but doesn't like doing it at all. So I've backed off and will leave it (he's reception) and concentrate on reading with him etc. The stuff he enjoys!

bakingtins Tue 16-Dec-14 09:46:28

My ds2 is summer born in YR. He is doing v well in reading/phonics and is starting to 'spell' out words aloud, but his writing is poor. He can write his name but the letters are large, varying in size and wandering all over the page, he's been able to spell his name (say the letters aloud) for some time. He's been identified as needing help with handwriting and has been doing some fine motor skills activities in a small group with a TA. They seem to have sorted out his pencil grip this term by teaching him something called "froggy fingers". My autumn born DS could write his name before starting school but his handwriting was always identified as an issue. We worked on it a bit in Y1&2 using workbooks, and in Y3 he got his "pen licence" and has good joined up writing.
I don't think your DS sounds unusual but I'd have a chat with school about what they are doing and what you could be doing to help him develop fine motor skills and letter formation. We found the app "Hairy Letters" useful, but school teach joined up writing from the start and the app letters are not quite the same.
The other thing I'd bear in mind is that it's an OFSTED tick-box to identify something the child needs to be working on, so it may just reflect that he's doing particularly well in other areas. Easy to hear the "needs to work on/below average in ..." and miss that he's doing really well elsewhere.

cornflakegirl Tue 16-Dec-14 14:36:03

Mine was the same - loved reading, not interested in writing, not really bothered about colouring or other arty stuff. School suggested playdoh, but he didn't really enjoy that either.

Here is mrz's list. It's huge, but hopefully there will be some activities on there that he does enjoy. List

fatterface Tue 16-Dec-14 15:34:14

Bottom end of normal, most will be able to write their own name/form recognisable letters by now. What has the teacher suggested?

TalkinPeace Tue 16-Dec-14 17:07:11

Summer born boy.
Year R
Not in this house grin
He's doing GCSEs now fsmile

Hedgehogsbuzz1 Tue 16-Dec-14 17:10:37

Might just be that he dislikes doing fine motor activities. Mine avoided it till juniors then went hell for leather

Ferguson Tue 16-Dec-14 18:24:37

OP - that's good his reading is on track.

I'm sure the writing will pick up, once he feels more confident.

Meanwhile, if you have a tape recorder, or a phone that does recording, see if he will DICTATE his ideas, either for a little story, or a recount of an outing or event. When I worked with Yr2 boys who were VERY reluctant to write, they would dictate their ideas to me, and I would type on the computer. They did have good ideas, and enjoyed seeing their dictation come up on the screen.

Marmot75 Wed 17-Dec-14 18:35:27

I really hope this is normal because my son (August birthday, left handed) is the same. His pencil grip is not well established (he doesn't consistently use a tripod grip), his writing has some recognisable letters but they're big and wobbly, and he can't seem to create much pressure on the page with the pen/pencil.

Being an anxious mother I have bought triangular crayons and left handed pencils at great expense (yes really) but I'm not not sure they make much difference.

His teacher has told us that he enjoys phonics, and we know he has always been interested in books and his spoken communication is good. So I think (hope) he has the cognitive ability but the issue is with his motor skills.

His teacher has advised trying to build up his gross motor skills as they are a basis for fine motor skills. So core strength and things like sweeping up leaves and carrying buckets. Truly. In terns of writing / drawing, she said big pieces of paper and writing as incidental to an activity, like writing a shopping list. I have noticed myself that he is resistant to suggestions like 'let's sit down and do writing'.

So I'm trying not to pressure him and build up his motor skills generally without focusing too much on writing because I don't want him to end up hating it.

LL0015 Wed 17-Dec-14 19:39:37

Great list from Mrz
I haven't spoken to teacher yet, I wasn't sure if it was an issue at this point in year.
I will try to get him name writing over hols and chat with her in new year.

TalkinPeace Wed 17-Dec-14 19:42:27

Mrz and OP
Please relax
seriously, there are summer kids, particularly boys who do not read or write until well into year 1 or 2
if you keep reading with them and encourage them to colour and build lego and meccano and dens
when it switches on
it WILL switch on

LL0015 Wed 17-Dec-14 22:28:03

That reassuring to hear talkin peace
I've been feeling guilty that I didn't really notice my 2nd child as much as I focused on my first.
I talked to a physio (friend) after reading the list of motor skills, interesting about the wheelbarrow exercises as that was same advice.
But it was questioned as to whether he crawled....... He didn't. He didn't have time to crawl, he stood and walked around furniture and walls,
No patience like his mother!

So possibly, one reason is a lesser shoulder strength. Seems to make sense to me.
We begin wheelbarrow races tomorrow smile

Pipbin Wed 17-Dec-14 22:33:34

Only skim read but it's worth noting that there is some evidence that boys muscles and fine motor skills develop after girls.
Also, (huge generalisation here) girls will often chose to do activities that involve pencils like colouring, drawing and painting. Boys not so much so.
Like others have said, get out the Lego and it will come with time.

erin99 Thu 18-Dec-14 10:39:33

I think it's normal but children and teachers are under quite a lot of pressure these days.

My DS never colours or draws (well, only under duress at school) but he loves mazes and sodoku, and writes out sums and times tables.

Really interesting point about the crawling and upper body strength. I added monkey bars and a trapeze to our climbing frame this summer and it was amazing how quickly they got stronger from just taking their weight on their arms a bit. Even climbing frames don't necessarily encourage it that much these days. We should go to the park more.

louisejxxx Thu 18-Dec-14 10:54:02

My ds is very much in the same boat...has excelled with his reading but writing is lagging behind as he has never been particularly interested in mark making. It is only in this 2nd half term that his pencil grip has been well established and has learnt to correct it if he doesn't pick up the pencil right - before he would pick it up any which way and not realise it was wrong.

We had major progress last week when he came home and told us he got 2 stars on his star card (their behaviour system) for writing his letters smaller.

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