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My son's hand writting

(18 Posts)
Longdale Sun 30-Sep-07 11:31:44

Ever since my son started school they have moaned about his writting.
He's left handed and tends to smudge his writting with his hand as he goes along. The teacher goes mad at him for "writting scruffy" but it's not as if he does it on purpose.

Anyway a few weeks ago I recieved a letter from the school saying that he needs to control his temper and he still needs extra help in the classroom with his writting and that I should encourage "neat" writting.

I know for a fact that the "temper" thing is down to him being shouted at when he writes anything. He's a brilliant reader (finished the school reading books at the age of 8) and his maths is above average yet they still put him on the bottom table just because of his writting and this means he will go in the lower class next year...all because his writting isnt neat.

It's really getting on my nerves. How do I help him write neater? I'm really worried that this is going to effect his chances of getting into our chosen secondry school (voluntary aided).

Any ideas appreciated. He's nearly 9 by the way.

LIZS Sun 30-Sep-07 11:38:54

Practice makes perfect but not literally repetitive writing althgouh schemes sucha s Write Start may give him som structure to follow for that. Playdough, wet sand, kneading dough or pastry, lego and other model making, painting etc will all aid his hand strength and motor control. Perhaps his ideas outstrip his ability to write fast, maybe he needs to simplify his ideas and write less but better ? Touch typing may help too. Do they offer any out of classroom support time for such issues at shcool ? ds (9) had special weekly handwriting classes in a small group last year which really helped.

Cappuccino Sun 30-Sep-07 11:40:59

if I were you I would try and contact your local Child Development Centre and ahve a chat with one of the Occupational Therapists

our local ones used to do little surgeries for kids with small motor difficulties eg bad writing, poor shoelace tying etc

they may still but I don't go as often to the CDC

chloesmumtoo Sun 30-Sep-07 15:33:44

owh poor thing thats not nice. I was surprised how nice our dd's teacher was the other day. It surprised me in a parent meeting where she spoke so nicely about if you have a left handed child - she tries to make sure they sit on the end of the table as to not bump arms with a right handed child! Never thought of it before as my dc's are both right handed. My ds is 10yrs and is still rather messy with his writing lol. Reckon its a boy thing. Find out if he can sit on the end of a table may help a little, enless he already is of course and its common knowledge. I just had never thought of it before!!

juuule Sun 30-Sep-07 15:54:08

Is he behind with anything else? If not, why would he be put into the lower class next year? It would be madness to do that just because of his handwriting.
If he is fine with everything else I think I'd be inclined to ask the teacher to leave him alone regarding his handwriting and that you will deal with it at home.
Would he do writing practice at home? Have you looked into any schemes, ideas etc to aid left-handers? I don't know if there are any but practicing writing would help him. Also, check whether his paper has the top leaning to the right as most right-handed people lean their paper to the left. That might help some. Encourage him to find a position that he finds easiest.

Longdale Sun 30-Sep-07 18:59:25

Thanks for the replies.

He's great with everything else. His reading is excellent (can read the Harry Potter books easily), during computer lessons he oftens helps the teacher work the machines and tells her what she's doing wrong! With his maths he got a grade 3 in his key stage 1 SATs. Its just his writting...not just the physical form but getting his ideas down on paper in general. He will have a great story but his sentances won't make much sense.

When they change classes at the end of the year the bottom two tables go in the lower class and the top 2 tables go in the top class. DS is on the bottom 2 tables despite him and one other boy being given harder maths work than the rest of the class as they found the other stuff far to easy...finished it early and began to mess around.

lljkk Sun 30-Sep-07 19:03:19

Is this private or state school,Longdale? England/Wales or somewhere else?

Niecie Sun 30-Sep-07 19:35:32

My DS (7) is exactly the same. An excellent reader (also reading Harry Potter - must be their age) and pretty good at most other subjects but he is also left handed and has appalling handwriting, although he does have other motor skill difficulties and has been diagnosed with dyspraxia. He smudges everything as well. I was going to start a thread to ask if anybody knew of any pens that didn't smudge but haven't got round to it yet. Pencil smudges too but I suspect that would be sorted by using a harder pencil.

Somebody started a thread a few months back raving about the amazing improvement in her DS handwriting by following the programme in the link below. I was slightly put off by the price (although I see it is now a lot cheaper) so I haven't tried it but she wasn't the only one saying how good it is. Might be worth a look. She did assure me that it was perfectly suitable for children older than 6 and that apparently it was quite good fun.

Write from the Start

juuule Sun 30-Sep-07 19:52:18

I got Write from the Start for my dd(7). She enjoyed it at the beginning but is now finding it boring. She groans every time I get it for her to do and I'm not asking her to do a lot each time. She hasn't finished the first book yet.
I do wish she found it fun as I can see how well it would work if she did some regularly.

Longdale Sun 30-Sep-07 22:12:23

Niecie, thanks for the link, I will look into it.

It's a state school...I'm not sure what the secondry school would come under as its described as "voluntary aided" but they don't pay to go...but it is selective IYSWIM? they have to do a test but the school reckons its to ensure a mixture of abilities within the intake.

I doubt this however as their GCSE results have a 100% pass rate with 100% of students gaining 3 or more A-C's. I'm desperate for him to go there and I don't want this ruining his chances sad

christywhisty Sun 30-Sep-07 22:23:31

My DD 10 is the same infact I did post about her here.
She is left handed and I have bought her the Stabilo Smove left handed pen which seems to have stopped the smudging.
He handwriting at your son's age was so bad her teacher refused to mark it. Parent's evening is just focused on the messiness of her work.
We have since found out she has an eye convergence problem which means she sees double which probably doesn't help.

The last year she has started to get neater and actually came home with a special mention for "trying hard with her handwriting" end of last term.
Her yr 5 teacher said they do concentrate extra hard on writing in Year 5, so hopefully will improve more.

Rhubarb Sun 30-Sep-07 22:24:20

Aargh! Don't hate me but "writing" is only one t.

Sorry.

flamingtoaster Sun 30-Sep-07 22:41:40

Two things which might help for different reasons - first find a book which he really loves and get him to copy out a short passage each day. This takes away the need to compose/spell and if its something he likes (even a joke book) he should be willing to do it.

Looking to the future it's important he learns to touch type - both because this will free his creativity and he will be able to get his stories down on paper without worrying about the writing and because, looking really far ahead, it's a tremendous skill to have for GCSEs etc.

My DD still does not like writing (she's just starting university) and typing was the key to getting her to compose essays and other answers to the standard she was capable of. I got her to practice writing from favourite books and once the writing was relatively neat we then would practice common words for one minute - i.e. writing the word as many times as possible acceptably neatly. This was to get her speed up which is important for secondary education.

melontum Mon 01-Oct-07 11:22:40

I've never heard of a state school dividing children by ability into separate classes at this age -- is this common elsewhere? Part of the Grammar School system? There would be a riot among our parents if our primary school openly divided children about Yr5 into "top" and "lower" classes. Plus how does it work in practice? -- I mean, most children are mixed ability across subjects.

Niecie Mon 01-Oct-07 17:58:20

Ours school doesn't split the children into separate classes but they are streamed for English, Maths and Reading I think it would be too hard to do separate classes at this age as they vary so much across the subjects.

Alambil Mon 01-Oct-07 19:11:04

is his work scruffy because it is smudged / wonky etc?

He needs to have his paper slanted (top of page at 45 deg angle away from his body); hold the pen like a normal right-handed person (not over the top of the line like some lefties do)

This should help as well as "lefty" pens (they bend a different way!) Is he allowed his own stationery?

He could also (or rather, you could) get a whiteboard and pens for him to just doodle - get his pen grip and positioning corrected in a fun way... play hangman and pictionary etc

I hope that helps (from a fellow lefty!)

freakypenguin Mon 01-Oct-07 19:15:58

I always advise students who are having trouble with handwriting to experiment with different pens.

This is especially key for left handers. I am left-handed and sympathise as I went to a very "old-school" school that insisted on fountain pens - the wet ink is a nightmare for lefties!

Sometimes biros are the worst though because they allow you to write extremely small, whereas a pen with a thicker nib can force you to form larger letters which often can result in handwriting being more legible.

Obviously you want a pen with 'instant dry' ink to get over the smudging issue. Or perhaps a thicker pencil would do the job?

kid Mon 01-Oct-07 19:39:45

I had the same trouble with DD, she is also left handed.
The teachers were always commenting on her work that she must write neater. I did agree with their comments but thought it was a bit harsh to have it written on every piece of work.
DD is now 8.9 and her writing has miraculously improved! She loved writing over the summer and literally copied reading books out. She often forgets to leave spaces between her words but at least her letter formation is good now.

You can get a 'Yorupen' not sure if anyone has already mentioned that here. They are a funny shaped pencil or pen that means the writer can see what they are writing. Also, its important to have the paper turned slightly. Imagine writing but not being able to see what you have written.

He will get there. Maybe he is on the lower tables because he takes a long time when writing so he only produces a small amount of work than they higher tables? That was the case for DD, she is still struggling at school as she was sort of left behind sad

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