Archive for the 'handwriting questions' Category

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware! #2

<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” ( 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!:)

Puzzles, Parquetry, and Writing: Paper Modifications

  1. 1. Check the color of the paper: Blue may be helpful for those with visual perceptual weaknesses.
  2. 2. Clearly mark the writing lines:  Anytime the writing lines  change either with color, width, or boldness, explain the difference to the child. With notebook paper it may be helpful to highlight every other space so that the child writes a line of words, skips a space, writes a line of words, etc.  This will help keep the tails of letters such as p, j, g, from interfering with word legibility on the next line.
  3. Mark on the desk where the paper should be placed.Slant of paper and placement does affect quality.
  4. If “hugging the left side of the paper” is a problem, first highlight the left margin of the
    page.  Encourage him to begin at the highlighted edge.  If he continues to
    move away from the highlighted left margin, move the left side of the paper to
    the body’s midline so the child works only in the right body space.
  5. Encourage the student to move the paper up as he writes closer to the bottom of the paper. Many students move their arm off the desk as they reach the bottom of the paper
    which affects legibility.  Encourage him to move his arm across the paper as well to improve legibility.
  6. Make your own paper strips and mark off boxes for each letter to be written in.  Help the child see the outline of the words by drawing around them before writing them.


We have our second winner from the e mail list and PTAC sign up sheets.

Congratulations to Carol Bateman.  If you would e-mail me your address, I will mail your book Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your Child’s Interest in Letters.

This book based on my 35+ years of experience  is filled with pages of activities, pictures of normal pencil grips at various ages, ways to learn letters without a pencil,  fine motor suggestions for the bath and the kitchen, and so much more! The contents are listed on a previous blog and you can purchase the book at my website:

Visual Perception: Body

Many of the visual concepts of space which includes directional sense are learned body first and then  interwoven with experiences with three-dimensional play (toys) and finally on paper.  Below are examples of concepts learned through the body:

—3 months: rolling over: circular movement
—7 months: banging with arms: vertical
—9 months: horizontal movements: pat a cake  or claps
—1 year: stretches arms up “so big”   vertical,
walking (vertical movement)
on all fours: square
As we talk about toy play in other blogs, we will see the one year old child begin to stack blocks putting to use the vertical concepts learned with his body.  Then he will be able at two to imitate a vertical line and by almost three copy a vertical line.  Let’s explore some of our senses which contribute to developing these body concepts and actually a workable “body scheme or awareness”!
Please don’t forget that body, play, and paper are an evolving developmental process that are interdependent on each other.  They aren’t individual processes because that is not how our body works!  Keep your child moving, building, and having fun with paper!



Please Join Lyn At:

The PTAC Conference July 19-21 at the Woodwind Presbyterian Church 10555 Spring Cypress Road where she will be presenting 4 workshops:

Puzzles, Parquetry, and Pre Writing
Birth to 3 years of Age: building Hands for Fine Motor
Red Flags in Motor Development of Pre K children
Games and Activities to Enhance Handwriting Skills
Its a GREAT conference with many exciting speakers!  Come Join US!!!

Dysgraphia: Copying from Near Point

Copying from near point (from a book or paper on the desk):  If writing is tedious, decrease the amount of board and desk copying when possible.  If copying is a requirement and there are no modifications try the following:

  • Ask to shorten the copying assignment by having the student only copy half of it.
  • Try folding the page to be copied in half so there is less visual distractions.  The task may look less formidable if broken in half.
  • Some students prefer to work vertically rather than left to right.  Try placing the page to be copied at the top of the writing page rather than to the side to see if there is greater ease of copying. 
  • Make the task more fun by copying on colored paper or raised lined paper ( or order from me).
  • Make sure the light source fits your child’s needs.  If sensitive to light, move away from fluorescent lighting and toward natural lighting.

However, some students do better with copying  from a legibility standpoint than creative assignments as they do not have to spell, punctuate, etc.

Handwriting Questions

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