Help With Handwriting(7 Posts)
DS1 (5) is in Yr1. He's left handed. His journey towards handwriting has been blighted by two broken wrists. School have been great in ensuring he has spent a lot of time on practical life exercises to strengthen his muscles and achieve a good pencil grip. However, he continues to do things 'his way'; one of these being to start writing a letter at the end rather than the start. So, for example, starts writing n at the bottom right of the n, bringing his pencil up and then back towards him before bringing it down again. The school isn't correcting him and I'm concerned it will become a bad habit making the transition to cursive more difficult.
Any advice on how to help him? When I was his age I would sit and trace letters, or spend hours copying passages from books. But that was me and something I enjoyed. This isn't something that appeals to him but he has said that over half term it would be nice to do something 'schooly' (he's at a Montessori school so no homework is set, but he's often complaining that they don't do enough work), so I've been thinking we could work on his handwriting.
Maybe things like tracing out letters in the air, in a sandpit, with a paintbrush of water on an outside wall? Have you talked to school about what they are doing with him? Montessori usually have sandpaper letters to trace, which should help set him up going the right direction, as long as someone shows him which direction to trace of course.
How about doing a half-term diary or similar? Or writing a "book"? Depending on stage and stamina it could be a picture and a word a day or a couple of sentences or more.
We found with DS that even though school occasionally corrected things when the TA got around to him, he was doing things wrong at school more than right, so writing would deteriorate during term time. When we did it at home during the holidays we could set him up right and even just a few minutes a day made a big difference because it was no longer balanced by doing it wrong the rest of the day.
The sort of (pre-)cursive DS was taught actually makes this bit very easy, because all letters start with the same lead-in, going backwards doesn't really come up.
I downloaded some sheets from Twinkl on a free subscription ( these are the ones we used) you can download ones with or without lead in.
As a left hander with a left handed ds I have a lot of experience on this front. There are no magic answers I am afraid, particularly when dealing with a wilful child who wants to do things his way. Even so, here are a few suggestions:
1). The first thing to remember is that pushing a pencil is much more physically tiring and less comfortable. It is also not so easy to move the pencil fluidly, which affects handwriting. A lot of people don't appreciate the barriers left handers face, so please be really patient with your son. Pulling the pen in the way he is doing is a much more natural movement for him at this stage so it is hard for him to change it.
2). You can buy moulded pens and pencils in most good stationary shops for both left and right handed children. These can help to get children to put their fingers in the right place.
3). The most important thing to encourage your ds to avoid is a hooked posture (see photos of Obama writing if you are not sure what I mean). This puts additional strain on the wrist and slows writing speed, which will be important when doing exams when he is older. I think the best document I have seen on encouraging good writing in left handers is this pdf from the US - www.peterson-handwriting.com/Publications/PDF_versions/TLHW2007.pdf.
4). There are some good tracing books around. My kids liked Cursive Handwriting by Roger Priddy.
Don't worry and keep it fun.
Thank you, all of you.
My brother is left handed and my dad was too (it was forced out of him at school and he's struggled with being right handed ever since). It seems to be a male thing on my side of the family, although my daughter seems to be left hand dominant too.
I don't want to push him and put him off, but I'm also aware that if I don't do something he could set himself up for difficulties later.
At school a lot of time is spent on ensuring the children adopt a relaxed writing posture in order to prevent problems rearing their ugly head later on.
I'll look at Twinkle, thank you. His brother and sister are 3.5 so I'm sure he would enjoy going back to Montessori basics with them over half term. I'll get the sand tray out and painting with water will be right up his street. Easy to forget sometimes that 5yr olds still enjoy this stuff!
I'm left handed and have two sons in Y1, one right and one left handed. My left hander used to do what you describe and still does on occasion but he stopped after we started sitting him down to write 3 sentences (sometimes he makes them up, sometimes we dictate) a couple of times a week, gently encouraging 'correct' letter formation each time. I was reluctant to do this as I have the curled grip like Obama, and he doesn't, but it's been surprisingly effective.
You could try googling the magic pencil and see if that helps, I know it helped me with my letters back in the day
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