I’m not gonna lie… I was not the best handwriting teacher at all. I will tell you, that the best teachers of handwriting I have ever known belong to an order of Catholic Sisters who work in private education. They are called Sister Servants of the IHM. I used to work at an IHM school… and I used to teach handwriting to Kindergarteners.
That’s a lot of pressure! As you can imagine, teaching handwriting made me very nervous. Thank goodness I had the best assistant in the world, who was a graduate of an IHM School and who had a lot more experience than me in handwriting.
Although I was not so great at forming letters correctly, I was really good at fixing the things that were hindering my students from writing correctly. I also experienced it with my youngest daughter. I studied, researched, practiced and interviewed OT’s and I tried the practices they taught me with them.
Well, guess what? They worked! So much so, that in Kindergarten my daughter won an award for the best handwriting in Kindergarten!
I am going to share with you a few factors that I have found to be important in bettering handwriting. The key to bettering handwriting is strengthening the hand and refining fine motor skills. The following tips I will share with you are all things that I have tried at some point or another with a child, and which has helped them in some way to better their handwriting.
This is a little bit of a debate but I think all choices are good choices. Small pencils are great because they help build strength in the hand of the child. Writing with a small pencil strengthens fine motor skill muscles, which is what is needed to have neat handwriting. However, my daughter had difficulty with the small pencil and we had to use a tripod grip for her. So, at the end of the day, whatever helps your child get the best grip is the best choice.
This is important to develop good handwriting. Pencils should be positioned in the hand between the thumb, pointer finger and middle finger. This grip doesn’t have to be permanent but at the beginning of the writing process, it’s very important because it’s creating the fine motor skill strength. And this is important because if fine motor skills are weak, handwriting will be weak.
I had a few tricks to help my students who needed help strengthening fine motor skills. The first thing I did was group them together during centers and let them play with play dough. This is such an amazing tool to strengthen fine motor skills. I used to place pony beads into a container of play dough and ask the students to dig them out. They had to use their pincer grip to extract the beads and in turn, they were strengthening their fine motor skills. Cutting, rolling and squishing play dough is so good for fine motor skills!
I learned this tip from an OT. You ask your child to pinch and twist their pencil to ensure the right grip. Then you place a cotton ball between their ring finger and pinky finger and their palm as they are gripping the pencil. Practice writing a few things. Practice and practice until the hand becomes stronger. Using this tp with your child will help strengthen the fine motor muscles, which is what helps keep the handwriting neat. Check out this link to see how I demonstrated this tip. https://youtu.be/Tp6opL-A-uc
A mom of 2 beautiful children, 2 amazing step-kids and I have a wonderful and amazing partner who is my number one fan. I am a teacher with 15 years of experience. I have a Masters Degree that helps me create the tools I need to tailor education for children who learn differently. I know the struggle of working full time and coming home exhausted to continue part 2 of your day. Your child’s success in school is tied to the tools you give them at home. Let me give you the keys you need to unlock success for your children at school.