9 Tools and Tricks That Will Improve Handwriting Instantaneously
Your child is learning to write for the first time, and they’re excited to scribble their name everywhere in all its sloppy, backwards-letters glory. It’s beyond adorable, and you love collecting the cards and notes they write to keep in their scrapbook forever. Later though, they’re starting school, and you realize pretty quickly that it’s time to focus on the tedious task of perfecting their handwriting. Without the right guidance or approach, it can be difficult to graduate from illegible scribble to good penmanship.
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You’ll want to start by choosing the right tools to support a developing writer. Don’t just reach in your junk drawer and pull out the first pen you find for them to write with. Just like a thicker crayon is easier for little fingers to grasp, it’s best to begin with a thicker pencil for writing. Look for Ferby Jumbo Triangular Pencils, which are not only thicker than regular pencils, but also shorter and triangular in shape. That triangle shape makes them easier to grip and hold. They also have a softer lead and write more smoothly. Pencil Grips are another very simple, but very helpful tool to keep around for new writers. There are so many different kinds available, so don’t be afraid to try a few and see what kind works best for your child. Any grip will help make a pencil more comfortable to hold and can help prevent tired hands. Certain designs can also help children position their fingers correctly around the pencil, which can be a major factor in determining the neatness of handwriting. Learning to properly control the pencil is another way to improve writing, and adding a slant board into your practice time can help to do just that by automatically improving posture and positioning the wrist in a more extended position.
Once you have the proper tools, you’ll likely also need to work on pressure. New writers often either press too hard with their pencil, which can affect handwriting and be a big strain on the hand, or they don’t press hard enough. If a child is writing too lightly, adding a pencil weight can help teach them to apply an adequate amount of pressure. If they’re pressing too hard, a very accessible but very effective method is to let them write with mechanical pencils. Anyone who’s ever used one knows that applying too much pressure frustratingly leads to your lead snapping right off. Children learn quickly to apply lighter pressure, plus there’s the added perk of getting to play with that addictive clickity-click of the pencil.
Like any other skill, your child will need to practice, practice, practice to get handwriting just right. Have them practice writing their letters or certain words for you regularly, and consider using alphabet paper, like the Hi Write Lower Case Alphabet Paper. Kids learn correct letter formation and gain muscle memory through practice. Alphabet paper provides clear visual cues and a lot of repetition, which guides them through the process. Raised Color Cue paper is even more supportive, as it has raised lines that provide additional tactile cues, so children are even more aware of writing in between them. The different colors also make the lines easier to distinguish from one another, which can be challenging for new writers at times. In addition to considering line spacing and letter size, children often leave too much or too little space in between their words. Providing your child with a spacer is a great way to guide them through until it becomes second nature. Finger Spacers are easily placed after each word to show a clear place to begin the next one. They can help improve legibility and independence during writing. Star Spacer is another tool that not only provides support with spacing words, but also helps to keep letters aligned as well.
This of course is not a perfect science and not all of the strategies will be a perfect fit for ever child. However, if handwriting is a concern, these simple tricks are definitely worth a try.