During this break I’ve been looking into handwriting skills. I have a few minutes and thought I’d quickly share what I’ve come across lately.
I found an extremely useful 32-page article about handwriting. It’s a handwriting resource for (pre-K and kindergarten) teachers in a Maryland school district. You can find it here: http://www.fcpsteach.org/docs/Handwriting.pdf
It has some suggestions for building handwriting skills from a young age (preschool) such as activities that encourage children to cross the midline of the body (by waving their hands above their heads and crossing their arms like scissors), learning to tie one’s shoes, skills such as zippering, and buttoning.
Other activities they suggest:
*create a crawling obstacle course (crawling is a great midline-crossing activity)
*lie on the floor on their stomach to paint, do finger plays, etc.
*play tennis (or something equivalent)
*crawl like a turtle
Foster the ability to use to hands and build small muscle strength by
*cutting with scissors
*making letters out of yarn, shoestrings etc.
*gluing, stapling, punching holes
*wring out sponges
*sewing and lacing
*using blocks, Legos, Knex etc.
*use spray bottles
*use a meat baster or eye dropper
*finger paint (with paint, jello, salt, sand etc.)
*playing with small toys
*screwing lids, nuts and bolts
*basic art — coloring, drawing, sketching, folding paper etc.
*molding with clay, sand, play-dough, paper mache, etc.
The article goes on to talk about modeling correct letter formation, addressing common handwriting issues. It’s worth a read if you have the time.
Meanwhile, I’ve also looked into introducing LD to cursive. From the early 1800s until after WWII, children learned to write in cursive when they first started school. The McGruffy readers have both print and cursive in their readers from the earliest primer. There are some good reasons for introducing cursive first (or early on). For one thing it is harder for them to make letter reversals (such as b and d). Some say that the cursive style is easier and faster. I asked LD and he’s interested in learning cursive this semester so we’re going to give it a go.
Here are a couple of resources I’ve used for introducing LD to cursive writing:
for tracing upper and lower case letters: http://www.softschools.com/handwriting/cursive/
making your own tracer page: http://www.kidzone.ws/tracers/none/tracer-form.asp
Using the tracer page I made pages such as “My name is X. I live at X. My phone number is X.” And, to appeal to LD I made up a silly story about a pet alien for him to trace as well using that program above. We’ll also check out Handwriting Without Tears. I let you know what we think.
On another note, the Sunrise Learning Lab mentioned a kindergarten homework calendar she came across at http://www.kellyskindergarten.com/. The calendar is a little difficult for DD and is a bit easy for LD however it has some great suggestions for building kindergarten skills (such as working on memorizing your phone number, counting skills and things like that) which would take no more than a few minutes. I found it to be a useful resource to keep in the back of my mind. I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of Kelly’s website such as her Games to Make page which has board games for sight words, math words, etc.