Handwriting is so important to each of us. Our signature marks our unique impression of agreement or approval on a document. There have been many arguments lately on whether to teach our children the skill of cursive handwriting. While many feel it’s not necessary, others say that the skill is critical to for building brain connections and should be taught. I love this article on 5 Brain-Based Reasons to teach handwriting in school.
I’m often asked the question, ‘where to start teaching our children writing and when?’
- Step one: SCRIBBLING..…..our children learn to control their bodies from the middle out. This means that they control their central structures such as mouth, eyes, shoulders before the smaller muscles in their hands. It’s for this reason that they begin with larger muscle movements and scribbling on the paper. Provide large pieces of paper or purchase rolls of paper from teacher supply stores.
- The next step is a VERTICAL LINE. It’s much easier to mark the paper from top to bottom. This skill does not require kids to cross the middle of their bodies.
- Horizontal lines are next. That means our kids can now progress to drawing from the left side of the paper to the right (or right to left).
- The circle is next and it’s SO exciting as our children begin to associate making faces with drawing circles. It’s now that we begin to see our child’s personality more and more!
- The ability to write diagonal lines comes last.
So, most kids do not (or can not) learn to write the alphabet in order. Think about the order in which writing strokes come……..Letters with vertical lines come first, like I and then those with vertical and horizontal lines come next, like T. Finally, diagonal letters come last, like X, M, N, Z.
Did you know that children need to be able to identify letters BEFORE they can write them? It’s true! Many kids can trace or imitate drawing a letter with a model or example, but to actually write the letter from memory, they need to identify the letter and choose it from others. How do you test this? Write three letters (A, T, Z) on paper and ask your child which is the letter A. If she can identify the letter, then she may be able to independently write it.
At which ages should each handwriting stroke begin? A fellow OT friend, Heather of Growing Hands on Kids has created a wonderful FREE download for you. Click HERE or on the picture below.
Remember that there are so many ways to work on fine motor coordination WITHOUT A PENCIL! Watch this video for quick and easy ideas to work on fine motor in YOUR home.