Handwriting is taught to children that are as young as preschool age. Children begin learning how to write the letters in their name and they will usually start with their first name. Handwriting can be taught in a variety of ways, depending upon your child’s teacher as well as the curriculum within the school. It is important to teach your child in the same manner in comparison as to how he or she is learning in school in order to see the greatest success and to provide the most consistency. Overall, when teaching handwriting, it is crucial to provide your child with plenty of verbal and visual cues in order to help the child memorize the appearance and feel of the letters.
Below are some of the highlights to the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) program, which makes the handwriting process quite successful and simple to follow for the children, parents and teachers alike:
- HWT works sequentially, initially teaching all of the upper case letters and then all of the lower case letters. Lastly, all of the cursive letters. this process is more effective compared to jumping around.
- HWT utilizes simple terminology to describe how the letters are formed (e.g. Big Line, Little Line, Big Curve and Little Curve).
- HWT focuses on right/left discrimination in order to help the child determine his/her dominant hand (hand which holds pencil/utensils). It also focuses on helping the child to help him/her be aware of the right side of the body versus the left side of the body.
- HWT emphasizes the quality of your child’s handwriting rather than the quantity (e.g. Writing 5 correct “A’s” versus writing 10 sloppy “A’s”).
- HWT utilizes several whole-body activities to help the child in retaining the information (e.g. Music and Movement; Imaginary Writing and Letter Sizes and Places).
As you can see above, there are many perks to using the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) Program at home and in school. If your child’s school does not use this program, you may still gain many great strategies and knowledge from the HWT website. Please feel free to speak with your child’s occupational therapist if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s handwriting or fine motor skills. Similarly, stay tuned for my next blog on HWT Three Stages of Learning.