I often get requests from parents to teach their child proper handwriting techniques. Achieving legible handwriting can actually be quite challenging. If you suspect your child is having serious challenges with the physical act of writing, getting an evaluation from an OT (occupational therapist) could be helpful. I have included some of my favorite resources for handwriting here. I am not a specialist or an OT, so I will leave it to the experts!
Your child may have already developed a pencil grip that inhibits proper letter formation and ease of handwriting. When a child has not achieved appropriate pencil grip, they may tend to hold the pencil awkwardly or with an especially tight grip. This can lead to problems such as fatigue and muscle cramps. OT Mom Learning Activities is a wonderful resource not only for pencil grip, but also a whole host of tips and strategies pertaining to motor skill development.
You may notice that your child doesn’t necessarily struggle with letter formation, but seems to write at a slant down the page, or that each new line is started a little further to the right than the previous one. This may not be an issue of handwriting, but actually a tracking issue with the eyes. This article provides a clear explanation of tracking issues and even gives an example of what text may look like for a child with tracking challenges.
Children who have had support with pencil grip, letter formation, and other aspects of handwriting, but still struggle to write or find it painful may be experiencing Dysgraphia. This article explains in depth what Dysgraphia is. In my experience, children who have Dysgraphia can benefit greatly from learning to type. Typing does not seem to cause the same discomfort and challenges that handwriting does and it’s often more efficient. Typing can be particularly helpful for children who struggle with Dysgraphia and Dyslexia as it allows children to organize their thoughts and express them quickly and efficiently without the added stress of letter formation, spelling, and the frustration of trying to get all your thoughts on paper as quickly as they come.
If you want to give your child some extra practice with handwriting, check out these freebies! Becky Spence is one of my favorite education bloggers and she always has lots of free goodies on her website. She also does free webinars and has a fabulous blog post on handwriting!