Play with clay or any malleable
materials. Cut paper. Make collages.
Push holes in garden dirt to plant seeds.
Make a little pad by collecting scraps of
paper and holding them together with a
clip, or just hang up favorite drawings
with clothespins, collect tiny pebbles into
a box. Oh, there are so many fun ways to
get those hands strong and moving!
As you introduce letters, take it easy.
Keep lessons short and varied. Here’s a
sample just for a starter: Stand and point
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the index finger in the air. Air-write a
letter, chanting or singing as you go.
Chanting reinforces correct directional
movements. Next, finger trace the letter
on a child’s back, and ask him or her
to guess the letter. Then go to a desk or
table with paper and write three or four
warm-up patterns. Then practice the
letter, writing it no more than four times.
The first one may be the best, and you
don’t want children to become frustrated
as they keep trying to write a better letter.
It seldom happens. You could also use a
silly picture like this bird for a practice
paper. Hold the paper with the nondominant hand, and practice rhythm with
a good marker hold.
you may need to search for a better
Often the hurdle to overcome is pen
hold. Tension never works, and it is
not always easy to relax. Keep practice
sessions short so one is able to write
before becoming too tense. The alternate
pen hold shown here helps many people.
It will feel weird at first, but keep at it for
ten or fifteen minutes, and it can work.
The index finger is still in control with
the thumb and third finger supporting the
pen, but the pen rests in the web between
the index and third fingers.
PRINT-SCRIPT AND CURSIVE
In the United States and elsewhere a
form of print-script is usually taught
to beginners. Letter strokes start at the
top and move left to right. The letters
are stiff, and without flow, but at least
they conform to reading. For about three
or four years, from pre-kindergarten
through first or second grade, children
develop habits of movement. Then
there is usually a short period when
they happily learn grown-up writing,
conventional cursive. Problem is,
established movements for print-script
must be undone and retrained because
letter strokes no longer move in the same
directions, and some morph into different
shapes. Often the “cursive” novelty
wears off and students revert to what they
first learned. The best outcome happens
if one adjusts the print-script, joins up
some letters, retains legibility, and gains
speed. Sadly, too many struggle with
confusion about how to form letters, and
serious handwriting problems set in.
Of course, some programs teach conventional cursive only, so the confusion is
not a problem. When students are required
to print, they usually adapt.
Pattern Picture From BFH Fluent
FOR OLDER STUDENTS AND
Handwriting problems rarely have
anything to do with an individual’s
ability to write legibly or quickly. With
a bit of guidance, and understanding of
what makes letters legible or illegible,
students can easily correct the problems.
How can a challenge become a joy?
It will come with the realization that
the problems rarely have anything do
to with an individual’s capability to
write legibly and fast. Even those with
physical handicaps can have satisfactory
handwriting. Again, simplicity and easy,
natural movements rule.
The older student needs to address
the formation of letters, their shapes,
slant and direction of strokes, so
letters will flow, joining with legibility.
Simplify letter formations as much as
possible. The simplification will need to
be relevant to the handwriting program
you originally chose. Of course, if it
was not you who made the choice, or
if you think your program was faulty,
108 Winter 2010/11 l Handwriting