Handwriting woes: How to ensure your kids perfect those curves
The development of a child into a well-rounded adult is every parent’s greatest concern. To that end, they go to great lengths to hone the academic and co-curricular performances of their children. But while book learning undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in academic success, it’s not the only factor that’s taken into consideration when the grades are ultimately assigned. The style and presentation of a child’s work also plays an important role in the push for overall perfection. And there’s nothing quite as important to presentation as a neat, well-formed script. Good handwriting is the gift that keeps on giving – it teaches children discipline, hones their mental and physical development, and presents an excellent impression of the individual to readers. From an academic perspective, it serves to boost a child’s memory while also helping examiners concentrate more effectively on their work.
Problems with messy handwriting frequently start at a very young age. That is why it’s the ideal time to train children in the art of good handwriting, especially since they tend to settle into a particular style as they hit their teenage years. Parents and teachers can help children improve their handwriting by following a few simple guidelines, including:
The right grasp is important - Good handwriting is achieved by finding the right grasp and posture for the pencil. If the pencil is not grasped correctly, the writing won’t flow quickly and easily. The correct way of holding the pencil is to rest it next to the base of the thumb. The child should hold the pencil lightly but firmly with his or her thumb, middle finger, and index finger. This will allow them to write more without fatiguing their fingers. This is the first basic step in developing good handwriting skills.
Following the line is key - One problem many children face is keeping their letters in proportion with one another while also following the line. This results in the words appearing mismatched, with each character a different size and going out of the line of flow. Parents and educators can help their children overcome this problem by following certain methods, such as making them practice writing on lined paper so that they can fill up the space between the lines properly. Make sure the capital letters fill the space between the top and bottom lines, and see to it that the lowercase letters are about half the size of the capital letters. There are specially lined notebooks with blue and red markings which help kids with poor handwriting overcome their difficulties with this problem.
Improving the pace of writing – Finding the right pace at which to write can increase automaticity, which lessens the burden on a child’s working memory. This means not having to actively concentrate on the act of writing itself, and instead shifts the focus to thinking about what to write. Some children have a habit of writing slowly while others write at a fast pace. Children should be made to write within a particular timeline, and to help them do that parents must keep a keen eye on their child’s writing speed and set the timeline accordingly.
Keeping sustainable pressure - Most children have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on the paper or notebook they are writing on. This will not only spoil their handwriting but also stress their fingers and tire them out very quickly. Children should be taught to hold the writing tool lightly but firmly, and not apply an excess of pressure on the paper while writing. By following this step, the words will glide easily and the handwriting will end up neat and aesthetically pleasing.
Training through tools and handwriting kits - There are many handwriting tools and kits available in the market that can help children improve their handwriting skills. For example, Zaner-Bloser solutions are amongst the most globally acclaimed tools, used by schools and parents all over the world to enable young kids to improve their handwriting. These handwriting solutions are aimed at grades K to 6 and consist of a mix of print and digital solutions. Zaner-Bloser’s handwriting program is a definitive package for handwriting instruction which teaches students to write fluently and legibly in fewer than fifteen minutes a day, from their first letters all the way up to cursive script.
(Author Sarvesh Shrivastava is Founder and Managing Director, Eupheus Learning. Views expressed here are personal.)
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