Posts Tagged 'school modifications'

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.


Scissor Hints

Beginners need stiffer paper to cut for easy  success.  Pull out your old holiday or birthday cards to cut up.  Try old manilla folders but not too thick.  So often regular paper or construction paper will bind in the scissors which frustrates beginners.  Also start with short projects such as cutting a 4 inch strip in half rather than a whole page.  Begin without lines on the paper as the child needs practice with just opening and closing the scissors. Then add lines, curves, and finally shapes. Most of all have fun!!!! Turn your short snips of paper into confetti and have a pretend party

Safety Note: Always use blunt scissors with beginners.  Make sure the scissor size fits your child’s hand size!

Puzzles, Parquetry, and Pre Writing?

What do puzzles and parquetry blocks have in common?

A child needs the ability to:

  • —  Move the pieces (fine motor)
  • —  Mentally or visually break down (visualization) space: part to whole or vice versa
    (which are you?)
  • —  Visually discriminate shape and space (visual discrimination)  or
  • —  Match “like” shapes/letters with the space
  • —  Turn an object (block or piece) in space for placement (position in space)

Let’s add several of the components of writing a letter and see if there are overlaps with the above:

  1. Verbal label: name or sound

2.    Visualization of the symbol

3.   Spatial awareness: visual and body

a. Shape of letter

b. Parts of letter: size of each part

c. Part to whole perception or vice versa                                             

d. Directionality:  right, left, top, bottom, round, half circle, etc

4. Visual memory of each part  and whole

5. Sensory and motor skills to move the pencil

Could it be that skills developed with puzzles and parquetry blocks provide foundational developmental  skills for writing letters?  Shall we explore that possibility?


More Thoughts From Your Child

Mom, you know all the overhead lights in my class really make my eyes hurt.  Then when I have to write on that “bright white” paper, it makes my eyes really tired!!!

Children may be overly sensitive to the brightness of light.  This may affect their handwriting and reading as the contrast between the black print and white background may be uncomfortable. 

Try: Printing their worksheets on pastel colored paper, blue, purple and yellow, favorites of my clients

        For reading, use a colored plastic overlay placed over the page to be read

        Moving their seat near natural light and away from fluorescent lighting

        Allow sunglasses or a hat indoors  

Ensure that their sensitivity symptoms such as frequently rubbing their eyes, squinting, covering their eyes with their hands are not due to an actual visual acuity, tracking or convergence problem. Have their eyes checked by a professional.

Handwriting Questions

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