Archive for the 'Handwriting' Category

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware #3


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: 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” ( 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.

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.

“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:  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!

Summer fun: Air Hockey!


Materials needed

Tape Feather   (the “puck”)
Washable   markers Cookie   sheet or tray (“playing field”)
Construction   paper Infant   nasal syringe for each team player

1. Play on the floor or at a table.  If your child is comfortable on the floor, have him lie on his stomach while propping his body up with his forearms. At the table, he should sit in a chair which allows his feet to be flat on the floor. The table top should be slightly above his arms when they are bent at his side.

2. Choose the names of the two teams.  Help your child write the first letter of each team on a piece of construction paper, which will also be your score sheet.

3. On the cookie sheet, which is your playing field, use a washable marker or a long piece of tape to mark off each team’s goal or line to cross for the team to score.  Make sure your child knows where the feather must cross for him to score a point.

4. Each person chooses a nasal syringe which will be used to blow the feather back and forth across the playing field. Place the feather in the middle of the playing field.

5. After someone says “Go”, the players use the nasal syringe to blow the feather back and forth across the playing field until one person scores by crossing the opposite line or goal.

6. When one person scores make a mark or number on the corresponding team’s paper. Play until one team achieves five points.  Remember this is FUN. Do not make it too hard for your child to score a point.

Alternate uses for the infant nasal syringe:

  • Use it as a water gun.
  • For hand strengthening fill up containers with water
  • Add paint or egg dye to cups of water and mix the colored water using the syringes.

Developmental Skills:

Gross Motor: Playing on his stomach while propped on forearms helps strengthen the upper back, neck muscles and shoulders.

Fine Motor: As the child squeezes and releases the nasal syringe, his hand may be strengthened.

Perceptual: As the feather moves back and forth, the child practices eye tracking as well as judging “near and far” distance. Numbers and letters may be learned and written.

Language: Encourage the use of words such as “close to you”, “close to me”, “here it comes”. Social skills such as taking turns and learning to play fair as well as losing and winning are practiced.

Tactile/Kinesthetic: Hand awareness may develop as the hand moves across the playing field.

Exert: Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your Child’s Interest in Letters (

Handwriting Questions

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