Archive for the 'Handwriting for children' Category

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware #3

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Problem: A visually sensitive student is overwhelmed by the numerous problems on a Mad Minute worksheet!  The sheer number of problems to be completed in a timely manner is causing extreme anxiety!

Solution:

Solution: To reduce the visual on the page:
a. Fold the paper into halves or quarters
b. Use an index card to block out part of the page or use “The Reading Focus Card” (www.readingfocuscard.com) turned sideways as in above picture.
c. Make sure the visually sensitive student is not sitting under flourscent lights which increases the glare on the paper. Try colored worksheets rather than white ones to help reduce the glare.
d. In extreme cases, wearing sunglasses will also help reduce the glare of white paper.

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Handwriting Worksheets: Beware! #2

MP900309049
<When writing on unlined paper with his eyes closed, the second grade student's letters are 3/4 inch high.  The space on the worksheet is unlined and allows for 1/4 inch high letters.

Problem:  When a child writes letters with their eyes closed either for fun or for professional observation, the height of the letters produced can represent the “comfort level” of his finger movements.  If the height of the letters are 3/4 inch, this is more appropriate for a kindergarden student than for a second grade student.  As he must tighten down his fingers to place the letter in the worksheet’s smaller space, hand fatigue and decreased writing speed can result.

Solution: Copy the worksheet allowing for larger spaces or allow the writing on an extra page.  If ask to write on the back of the worksheet, two problems appear: 1. usually there are no lines on the back.  We all write better with lines. 2. Flipping the worksheet from front to back and then back to the front can be very distracting as well as taxing on the child’s memory as he attempts to remember the question and answer, flip the sheet and then write.

To help with improving the size of his writing, a program such as “Callirobics” (www.callirobics.com) may be helpful.  Also it would be important to look at his pencil grip which may be a cause (though not only) of the larger writing.

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware!

MP900049596Handwriting worksheets vary according to the writing program that is being used.  Let’s look at the first of several worksheet “glitches” and how to fix them:

1. A worksheet has four lines for practicing a single letter..  A “model” letter to be traced is at the beginning of the first line but is not repeated at all.  Dots are placed for each letter on the lines.

Problem:  The child will trace the model letter and hopefully make the first independent letter correctly.  The second independent letter is modeled after the first independent letter.  The third independent letter is formed according to the second independent letter not the model. As the child loses focus on the model letter especially on the fourth line, the letter will more than likely be formed incorrectly.

Solution:  Place a model letter at the beginning of EACH line as well as in the MIDDLE of each line.  Make sure the model letter is traced correctly!  Once the letter formation is in the tactile (touch) and proprioceptive (body movement) systems, it’s almost impossible to change!

Note: This pencil grip is highly inefficient!  But that’s another blog!:)

“Homework Place” Good Furniture

As you prepare a “homework” place for your child, please consider the right size furniture.  Our bodies need a chair that allows our feet to be on the floor and promotes good posture.  For the children who do not have good posture and need to lay their heads down on the table/desk or to hold onto the chair with one hand or like to sit on their feet in the chair, the chair may need arms to provide more postural stability.  The table/desk should be two inches above their bent elbows.  Good posture allows us to reach forward to write, color, uses scissors without subconscious fear of falling out of our chairs!  So please use child fitting furniture rather than adult fitting furniture if you want the very best writing, coloring, cutting from your child!

Alphabet Game: Memory and Go Fish

Alphabet Flash Cards can be used in different ways!  Hope you had fun with last week’s Battle game! Oh! I forgot to tell you that for your older kids who are into cursive, its great fun to mix a deck of upper and lower case printed alphabet cards with a deck of upper and lower case cursive cards together to play Battle with!  More cards, more fun! (if you don’t have cursive cards to play with check out my decks of printed and cursive playing cards!)

Here are 2 more fun ways to use a deck of upper and lower case cards (either print or cursive).

Memory:  Lay out the decks face down in rows.  Take turns turning up 4 cards to see if they match.  If two of the cards are the same letter, the person keeps that pair and has another turn  turning up another 4 cards.  No match? Its the next person’s turn.  The game ends when all the cards are gone. The person with the most matches wins! If there are too many cards, decrease the number just making sure there are pairs of cards.

Go Fish:  The dealer passes out 7 cards to each person.  Then lays down the remaining deck on the table.  Each person places the 7 cards in his hand and looks to see if there are two cards alike (a and A).  If there are matches, he lays them down on the table and is given two more cards.  The person to the dealer’s left, begins play by asking if a person has a specific letter.  If that person does have the letter, he must give it to the person asking for the letter.  The person asking for the letter takes the letter, places it with its matching partner, places the pair on the table and asks again for a specific letter.  If the person being asked does not have the letter, he says “Go fish” and the person must draw a card from the deck. Then its the next person’s turn to asked for a specific letter.  When a player has matched and played all of his cards, the game is over.  The person with the most matches wins the game.

Do you all have new ideas?

 

Alphabet Game: Battle

Alphabet flashcards can be used in other fun ways!

Decks of upper and lower case letters: Battle

a. Mix the upper and lower case letter cards

b. Divide the decks of cards between the players by dealing the cards face down in front of each player.  The players do not look at their stack of cards.

c. Choose if “A,a” or “Z,z” is to be the highest card.

d. Each person lays down a card in their pile (don’t look at the cards in the pile, just take one off the top)

e. Decide who gets the laid down cards based on the letters being the closest to the “A” or “Z”.

For example: If “Z” was chosen to be the highest card and a letter card “d” and a letter card “p” were laid down on that turn, the “p” would trump the “d” becasue it is closest to “Z”.  Being upper or lower case doesn’t impact anything. The person who laid down the “p” would pick up both cards and put them at the bottom of his pile of letters. If the same card is laid down by each person (a “D” and a “d” laid down together), battle begins.  Another card is laid down by each person.  The trump card of these two gets all the cards laid down on both turns (the “d” turn plus this turn).

The game ends when everyone gets tired of it (count the cards to determine who has the highest amount and is the winner) or when someone’s letter pile runs out!

If you need a set of nifty alphabet cards, check out mine at my website: www.lynaot.com.  The cards look like regular playing cards and can be written on for tracing with an erasable marker.  They come in a cute cloth bag for storage.

Please Have Those Eyes Checked!

Summer is a good time to make an eye appointment for your child.  Visual tracking is critical to reading and writing success.  Here are signs I look for as a therapist which may indicate a need for an eye exam.  Please note that I am not talking about “being able to see” (acuity) but rather the two eyes teaming well together.

a. Child who covers one eye by propping his head in his hand

b. Child who lays his head consistently down on the table or desk, covering one eye with his arm

c. Child who closes one eye when following a moving object, especially across the body’s midline (across the nose area)

d. Child who skips words or skips down a line when reading

e. Writing becomes worse in the middle of the page or to one side of the page

f. Child has a consistent head tilt to one side of the body

Looking at this “stock” picture, I would recommend this young man having an eye exam!  Please note the head tilt and the paper slant!

Hope you are enjoying the summer!


Handwriting Questions

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ALPHABET PLAYING CARD DECKS

Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R