How Important is Handwriting?
In my eyes, it’s extremely important! Even in our technology-filled world, there will always be a need for quality handwriting skills. These needs will take place as we write a quick note to a spouse or friend, a to-do list, a sticky note reminder, a thank you note, etc. Within the classroom, handwriting is a primary tool of communication. However, as teachers, we often receive little professional training or instruction in interventions for students who struggle with proper handwriting skills. Today, I want to share some simple, easy-to-implement ideas, tips, and tricks you can use with your kiddos who struggle with proper handwriting skills and techniques.
Promote Wrist Extension and Shoulder Stability
Proper wrist extension and shoulder stability are necessary for the fine motor movements associated with writing. For students who struggle, try letting them write by laying on the floor, on their tummies. The student can rest his or her elbows on the floor to improve shoulder stability. This is very similar to when a baby does “tummy time” on the floor. The position helps improve sensory input and strengthens the muscles needed for handwriting. A picture of this position is shown below:
Utilize Pencil Grippers
The Pencil Grip makes AMAZING pencil grippers! These are a definite staple supply in my classroom for students who struggle with proper pencil grasps. Yes, there are many different grippers out there, but The Pencil Grip, Inc. is THE source that I trust to use for my kiddos. Their grippers are research-based and truly provide the scaffolding support that students need as they adjust their pencil grip to a proper position. The best part about The Pencil Grip’s grippers is the options they offer. They use a 3-step approach to guiding students toward a proper pencil grasp. This is important to me! In the same way that I would not expect a reader to go from reading 2 words per minute to 50 words per minute in a matter of a week, I do not expect a student to automatically pick up a new habit and suddenly hold his or her pencil correctly. Baby steps, my friends! Here’s a look at the three main grippers I like to use from The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Utilize Visual Aides
An easy, highly visual aid is to take green highlighting tape (I like to use Washi tape) and stick it vertically along the left side of the paper. This serves as a visual reminder for students to “start” their writing where the green tape is. You could even take a green marker and draw a vertical green line down the left side of the paper, too! 🙂
Provide Direct Handwriting Practice
Implement Sensory Strategies