Handwriting involves many components, such as visual motor skills, fine motor skills, bilateral skills (stabilizing the paper and manipulating a pencil), hand strength, grasping, and executive functioning (planning, preparing, organizing). Oftentimes, a child will greatly improve the sizing, spacing, and legibility of his handwriting, but will still have trouble getting his thoughts onto paper. This may be due to decreased attention, decreased hand strength and endurance for fine motor tasks, or increased distractibility. Below are some strategies to work on creativity and independence for handwriting, particularly focusing on complete sentences and paragraphs, to help increase success at home and at school.
5 Steps To Work On Handwriting Strength:
- Write out the steps to a favorite board game: Have your child write out the rules and directions to a frequently played board game from memory. Make sure he uses complete thoughts and sentences, and that someone else would be able to play the game simply by reading the handwritten directions.
- Write out the directions to a favorite recipe: Have your child write out the ingredients and steps to a recipe from memory. In order to check his accuracy, make the recipe with your child, using only his directions. Then, your child will be able to “fill in the gaps” of his recipe to determine if he left out any important details. For an extra challenge, have your child write out the recipe on an index card to practice small, controlled handwriting and legibility.
- Create a story by looking at a picture: Help your child to find a picture from a storybook or off of the computer to use as the foundation of their own story. Make sure that he uses his own ideas, rather than the ideas and themes from the original storybook. Remind your child that there should be a title, a theme to the story, an opening sentence, and a closing sentence.
- Use a story starter: Provide your child with one or two sentences to work off of. For instance, “I am looking forward to summer vacation because ____, ____, and ____.” Or, “One activity I am really good at is ____ because ____, ____, and ____.” Or, “One day I went to the ice cream shop and ”. Make sure your child uses complete thoughts and sentences, rather than just filling in the blanks.
- Create an obstacle course: First, have your child walk around the house in order to brainstorm several activities and pieces of equipment he could use to develop his own obstacle course (e.g. dribble a basketball 5 times, log roll over a pile of pillows, and do 10 frog jumps down the hallway). Next, have your child write down his thoughts and ideas, including the equipment needed, and place the steps of the obstacle course in logical order. Lastly, have your child complete the obstacle course, as you read through the steps. This will help to find any missing directions in the obstacle course and add in any needed information or details.