Beginning Reading and Learning Handwriting – Part 2

If your child has had plenty of opportunities to draw and has reasonably good control while using a pencil, he or she should be ready to learn to write.  This does not mean students will want to learn to write, but many do.  If your students are interested in learning to write, your job is made easy because they will be willing to practice it without complaining.

Students who do not like to write or who find writing to be difficult need to be encouraged, and they can learn in short sessions of writing practice so they will not get discouraged. Sometimes just a minute or two of writing practice at a time is all you can persuade a child to do and that is okay.  You can require a more active child to practice for just a couple of minutes several times a day and he will still learn, but perhaps with a more positive attitude than may result if he is required to practice for a longer amount of time. An active child may also do better if he is allowed to stand while he practices handwriting.

Whatever method you use to teach your students to write, it is important that they learn how to form letters accurately enough that you can read what they have written.  I have worked with middle school students that formed their letters so poorly that you could not tell the difference between similar letters like:  h, n, and r, or like: a and c, or like:  b and e and the number 6.

Parents and teachers need to make sure beginning students learn to write the letters of the alphabet properly so that they and others can read what they have written.  This requires close supervision and attention to details while students practice.  Correct students right away if they are writing something incorrectly, like forming a lowercase b in the same way they write the number 6. Your handwriting practice booklet should have arrows that teach students how to write each letter correctly and in what order to make each stroke. Writing in a certain manner becomes a habit very quickly, and once a bad habit is developed, it is difficult to re-learn.

So much writing is done electronically now—but there will always be a need for writing by hand.  We do our students a big favor if we teach handwriting early and teach it well.