Topic | Handwriting struggles!


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  • Claire

    My 8 yo son is really struggling with his writing and I don’t know how to help.  He’s an eloquent narrator and has a lovely vocabulary but when asked to write something he struggles so much with the physical act of writing that he ends up putting down the simpliest of sentences.  His copywork is ok but it’s tough to ask him to do it or to watch him because he just struggles so gravely.  I’ve read some on something called dysgraphia but I would rather have a strategy than a label.  Any ideas?  I’ve already started him on an online typing program which he is really enjoying. 

    I am interested in this question too! My son does the same thing and I am hoping Spelling Wisdom will help with writing struggles. What typing program do you use?


    A homeschool friend recommended this one by the BBC – we’ve only just started it last week so I can’t offer much insight but so far it’s captured his interest.  Plus the English accent is pretty fun too!

    I’m hoping someone out there has paved the way before us in this area.



    Hi again, Claire!

    It’s so hard to watch our little ones struggle with handwriting! My dd, now almost 6, has also struggled with handwriting, and we’ve just recently changed our approach with her. It seems to be working beautifully. Before I tell you what we’re doing, I should note that my dd has sensory processing issues. Specifically, she is behind in her visual motor integration and does not cross midline, so that explains the vast majority of her handwriting difficulties. What we have started, with the help of her occupational therapist, is to make writing more of a sensory experience for her, rather than a mundane exercise.

    I took the pencils and paper away and started using mediums such as Play Doh and cornmeal in a cookie sheet. She builds the letters with the Play Doh, then traces the letter with her finger, then writes it in the cornmeal. Only after she is comfortable with those steps so I have her use a fine point dry erase marker on a lined dry erase board. We also practice writing 5-7 minutes a day, and no more. She is really thriving in this approach and isn’t dreading handwriting anymore. I know we will eventually get back to the pencil and paper, but for now, I’m just happy she enjoys writing now. 

    The only other thing I would check for your son is dominance. Did he try to write with his left hand and maybe you coaxed him into using his right? You can easily check which side is his dominant side with a few simple tests. Ask him to look through a toilet paper or paper towel roll and see which hand he uses to place it to his eye. See which eye he uses. Then ask him to hop on one foot and see which foot he chooses. If he’s truly left-handed, he should be left dominant–using his left foot, left eye, left ear, etc. The opposite is true if he’s truly right-handed.

    Those are the only suggestions I have to offer other than perseverance and patience.



    Lesley Letson

    one thing to think about in light of the narrations is maybe you can type his narrations for him and work on handwriting separately – that way he can concentrate on his narrations and not be so focused on the handwriting aspect of it, free his little mind to use that extensive vocabulary 🙂 My son is still young and handwriting as well as spelling are not nearly as developed as his oratory skills 🙂 What we like to do is he will narrate to me while I type (I used to take dictation for someone who writes books, so it’s kind of funny taking dictation from my child), I print it out, and he likes to then illustrate it. So maybe if you split those “subjects” up for him he could more easily focus on each one. 

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