Letter reversals, choppy letter formation, dexterity deficiencies are some handwriting factors evaluated throughout the school year. As with any other subject, each child has strengths and weaknesses that influence letter formation. Determining which factors require strengthening permits us to tailor support for each specific need. We can effectively equip each child on their writing journey by carving out time for assessments and adjusting lessons accordingly.
Young students should develop critical milestones before handwriting practice. However, in most cases, they can continue penmanship practice while supporting areas of weakness. A few tweaks to handwriting lessons can give children the confidence to continue their handwriting instruction.
Differentiating handwriting lessons to support children at varying stages of these handwriting developments is possible! Ready? Get Set. Print!™, a handwriting curriculum that is sure to grab your child’s attention, includes supplemental worksheets, posters, and activities for comprehensive handwriting instruction.
The curriculum accommodates common handwriting challenges such as fine motor skills, proper letter formation, and correcting letter reversals.
Supporting Kids with Dexterity-Related Needs
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Once letter tracing has begun, it is easy to spot which kids lack fine motor skills. You may catch improper pencil grip or messy scribbling. Students who lack fine motor skills have difficulty controlling formation when writing letters and numbers.
There are a few ways to build fine motor skills without pausing handwriting instruction. Popular fine motor exercises include pinching, threading, sorting, and cutting activities. Nevertheless, can we ease letter tracing for children who are still transitioning?
A larger or smaller line size choice might offer further assistance. I use the Handwriting Assessment Freebie to determine which line size would work best for my kids who struggle to write letters with control and fluidity.
This assessment showed me that my daughter could benefit from an extra small lined paper. I could then customize my handwriting lessons with editable handwriting paper (shown in the image below). This adjustment allowed her to continue handwriting practice while developing her fine motor skills.
If the assessment had shown her best handwriting on the medium line size, I would have resumed using the original lessons within my print handwriting curriculum, supplementing with fine motor exercises.
Additional Fine Motor Support :
Another way to help with dexterity development is by providing several options for writing tools. Different writing utensils provide varied slip, traction, and size for gripping. This simple choice gives students the confidence necessary for transitioning to daily letter tracing.
Correcting Improper Letter Formation
Proper letter formation needs lots of exposure and guided exercise. Without introducing and modeling the correct path of motion for letters, students will form letter stokes out of order. Consequently, developing poor handwriting.
I have incorporated modeling proper letter formation throughout the print handwriting curriculum. Regardless, letter-sensory activities are a fantastic addition to any handwriting curriculum. Tracing Mats are a low prep activity that offers a fun and creative way to master proper letter formation and is included in the curriculum.
In addition, Tracing Mats used in diverse ways can administer to other handwriting-related restrictions. Display them on the wall and air trace the letters to strengthen gross motor skills, drive toy cars on the letters to build fine motor skills, or guide a magnetic wand and ball to focus on hand-eye coordination.
Common Letter Reversals
Letter reversals can be a pain! Consistency is key to overcoming this handwriting nuisance. Posters, tracing mats, and letter reversal practice sheets provide plenty of exposure for young writers to correct those tricky letters.
Letter reversal posters are available everywhere in numerous varieties. However, the visual reminders never seemed to stick with my kids when they were out of sight.
Visual supports expose students to common letter reversals and guide them to pause and self-correct. They do work, but how can we make them better?
The letter reversal posters, shown above, are different in that the rhyme, illustration, and alliteration work together to explain the orientation differences of common letter reversals. While other references may confuse students, fail to distinguish the direction of each letter, or are quickly forgotten.
In addition to posters, the letter reversal practice sheets and, previously mentioned, tracing mats are great supports to end the reversal of similar letters. Tracing mats reteach proper letter formation, while the practice sheets (shown below) are a quick exercise that trains the eye to spot the differences between two identical letters.
The handwriting lessons alone within Ready? Get Set. Print! are created, ordered, and taught to prevent letter reversals. However, when mistakes arise, several resources are included, in the curriculum, to end letter reversals.
Empowering Discouraged Writers
As with learning many new skills, one of the most common struggles for young writers beginning penmanship is self-confidence. Some children are confident in their tracing abilities, while others are not sure they are ready.
Even when children seem to do well with each handwriting milestone, fostering confidence may be necessary. Offering plenty of support and encouragement when students are insecure about their progress gives them the assurance they need to persevere.
One way to boost confidence is through empowerment. Present many choices for writing tools, varying activities, or even the line sizes of primary paper to motivate enthusiasm. Having a wide range of resources readily available encourages students through the freedom to choose.
Handwriting Assessment Results Helps Diversify Instruction
Handwriting mastery is foundational to successful growth in the primary grades, yet we can easily overlook differentiation in handwriting. Students struggle with writing in different areas and stages, influencing how a handwriting lesson may look from one child to another.
Customization may be necessary to adjust instruction and effectively support young writers. Previously, that may have seemed overwhelming. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, this is manageable and worth the effort.
Ready? Get Set. Print! includes resources to help you differentiate your handwriting lessons. It does not need to be complicated.
Links to Handwriting Resources :
The handwriting supports are also available individually at my shop.
Ready to Differentiate Your Handwriting Lesson?
I hope this was informative. Does assessing and adjusting lessons sound reasonable to you? Are you ready to tailor your handwriting instruction? Let me know in the comments below!