Posts Tagged 'handwriting'

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: 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!

Basic Questions When Choosing a Game: Tactile/Proprioceptive

Our Tactile (touch) and Proprioceptive (knowing where our body part is in space based on reception from our joints and muscles) are extremely important to motor development as well as handwriting!  You can see how these work together by closing your eyes.  You still know whether or not you are sitting or standing or moving even with your eyes closed!

For handwriting to be automatic the motor memory for letters must come through these two sensory systems.  Try this:  Close your eyes and write your name!  Hopefully you did well! You visualized the letters, wrote them, and then received feedback through these two systems as to whether the letter was formed correctly or not.  If we had to rely solely on our visual system to give us feedback as to whether or not the letter we wrote was correct, handwriting would be  very slow!

1. Can the playing pieces be placed in a bag?  If so, have your child reach in the bag without looking and find the piece you requested.  Then place it on the playing surface.  Example: Cootie: place several body parts in the bag.  When a child rolls the dice and must choose a body part, have them reach into the bag to get it rather than just picking it up off the playing board.

2. Can drawing or writing be added to the game?  If so, can the child do the symbol with his eyes closed?  Ex: Match 7:  This game is alot like Connect 4 only the tiles have numbers on them.  If a child places a tile with the number 2 on it, ask the child to write the number 2 with his eyes closed.  If he can, he gets another turn.  If he writes it incorrectly, allow for an extra turn after you gently correct and demonstrate how to do the number the right way.  Be sure and use LARGE movements for writing.

Have fun!  I would love to know what your favorite games are!

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.

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