Handwriting Practice Brings Success for Your Learners
Handwriting starts early with a young child’s scribble patterns, but little do we see it as handwriting practice. This is the first step and prerequisite to developing the skills and knowledge needed for formal writing.
Holding implements to eat, draw, paint and color, is an important part of developing correct pencil grip when commencing formal writing. The development of gross motor arm, hand and finger movements all assist in the ability of the learner to manipulate with fine motor skills of the fingers and movement needed to hold a pencil and write.
Handwriting Practice Enhances Each Learner’s Ability
Handwriting practice is an integral part of every learner’s experience. The skills effecting writing ability are;
- Internal factors such as the abilities found within the learner to understand and manipulate small motor movement. Visual - motor skills, visual perception, motor planning and the ability to plan new motor behaviors.
- In-hand manipulation and kinesthetic awareness. Holding a pencil and knowing how to move and manipulate it to form letters.
- Also importance is attention memory and language. The ability to hold an image in memory to understand what is to be written and how to write it.
- External factors such as instructional procedure and the materials used to do writing. How are you teaching writing? Are your utensils appropriate?
Handwriting Practice Helps Determine When Learners Are Ready
Success of handwriting can be optimized when developmentally appropriate. Know when a learner is ready to begin formal handwriting. There are six foundation skills needed as prerequisites to writing. Assess these in the learner before moving on to formal writing. The pre-requisites are;
- Small muscle development.
- Effective hand/eye coordination.
- Appropriate utensil or tool manipulation.
- Cognitive readiness.
- Basic stroke formation.
- Alphabet letter recognition and orientation to speak and write language.
There are many great workbooks to use so learners can practice the pre-requisites to writing. These are set out in developmental sequences and learners should be allowed to perfect their styles before moving on to formal writing. Everyone’s writing is different so don’t get too pedantic with perfect form as this can cause stress fatigue in the learner. All attempts are a great effort.
Considering Internal Factors for Handwriting Practice
As mentioned earlier, there are some internal factors to consider when working on handwriting practice with learners. These include visual and motor skills, visual perception, and the motor planning as well which is important.
To help you understand this, imagine that you are watching a learner practicing handwriting for the first time. What do they do during handwriting practice? How do they look, or what do the pay attention to while writing? These are all important things to look for while working with a learner, so that you know what speed that they are working at.
Another factor could also be how the learner is holding their pencil as well as how they use to form letters. These are important points when it comes to handwriting practice, and anytime spent working with the students should only be constructive rather than critical.
Handwriting Practice and How it Plays Into Memory and Language
Have you ever thought about something before you wrote it down? You can easily see something in your mind if you are older than the age of 7, but before this time you didn’t have any way of knowing how to do this. You simply had to look at what examples your teacher showed you, and then try to write them.
You were also taught how to speak or say each letter as you learned how to write, which helped you learn the art of language. It all seems so easy, in fact it seems that we have forgotten all about it because it has been so many years ago.
The key to handwriting practice is simply looking at the letters and then writing them over and over. The more a learner writes, the better they get. As they get older, learners start seeing more and more examples of handwriting, and this includes the samples that they see of different fonts once they start using a computer.
There are many different twists when it comes to handwriting practice, and not all learners will learn in the same way, or at the same pace.
This is why it would be wise for us to consider teaching with patience, and continue to repeat what we teach, so that a learner can grasp the concepts, and form strong writing skills and habits.
Now that you know more about how a learner absorbs the practice of writing, you can more readily teach good handwriting practice.
You may also find this article helpful - How To Help Your Child Write a Story.