Handwriting Help

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  • CJKJ

    My daughter, who is starting first grade (she’ll be 6 next month), struggles with handwriting. She went to public school last year for K. Going in, she could only write a few letters and was still learning to recognize some letters. She can write most of her letters now, but she doesn’t form them correctly (makes her circles clockwise and flips some letters). She also uses capitals more than lower case.

    I am wanting to work with her on this but I’m not sure how to go about it. I really don’t like the font of the letters in HWOT. I had planned on using a penmanship font and creating my own handwriting pages and then using some pages off Donna Young’s site.

    So, with all that being said, do you have any advice for me? Are there any specific techniques I can use to teach her?




    I like teaching cursive first, my kids find it easier and while I love the simplicity of the HWOT workbooks, I don’t like the font of the cursive.

    I’ve used Cursive First w/ success w/ my oldest, but my favorite tool is Pencil Pete, a cheap software program that demos making letters. It comes for print and cursive.

    For print, I do think the HWOT is the easiest way to go.



    Lesley Letson

    I am still working with my son on learning to write, so these are just some ideas and things we’ve been trying lately….

    We were trying HWOT but something wasn’t clicking and I was kind of like you with the font. I have switched to a more traditional font, but still use some of the techniques from HWOT for the multi-sensory approach (the wood letter pieces are fun – we made our own which was cheaper – you could also use construction paper; I do try to encourage him to start at the top with his letters like they do; I do try to refer to the different strokes in a consistent terminology like they suggest; and we do use the magna-doodle and chalkboard). We are going to start going through the Zaner-Bloser workbook and see how that goes. One thing I noticed was that my son was getting bored with just writing letters by themselves. I asked him to write the word “LEFT” one day and it was amazing – he didn’t mind writing a whole word and was more focused on the formation of each letter. I also don’t ask him to write entire rows of letters so if he knows he only has to do three he will try harder with those – I’ll get him to write a few and then circle which one he thinks is the best. We’ve tried different types of papers also – we switched to a narrower rule and that was actually easier for him than the wide rule. It seems that sometimes the grey block paper from HWOT is helpful in having him confined to a certain area of space, but I want him to be able to write on lined paper as well. Some other suggestions that have been made to me were to let them write in a pan of shaving cream or sand with their finger. I also let him use tub crayons and that is a fun way to practice for a second or two. I remember from early on being taught that the lines on the paper had upstairs, downstairs and a basement (illustrated by a house) – when I showed this to my son he thought it was great. With the numbers we have been describing them as if they were a picture, e.g. a “2” looks like a candy cane with a line at the bottom, a “3” looks like 2 bellies sticking out, a “4” is like a small capital L with a long line, etc. It seems like once we made it more “fun” and a shorter time he was more eager to try it and do a good job at it. I’ll also sneak in a bit of writing practice here and there in ways he doesn’t recognize that he’s actually practicing writing 😉 One last thing (in my stream-of-consciousness writing here) that I read off of another post was to not make them keep working on the same letter until it is perfect, go ahead and move on. This seems so common sense I don’t know why I wasn’t doing it, but that has helped too. I have to remember that it will take a while before it all looks nice and need to be patient with the progress.

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