As various screens fill our homes and classrooms some wonder what the role of handwriting plays in education these days. Today in partnership with the BIC® Fight for Your Write initiative I’m sharing some of the information I know about the important role of handwriting and ways you can help improve your child’s handwriting at home.
**Don’t miss the chance to sign the BIC ® Fight for Your Write Pledge and enter to for a chance to win a $1,200 BIC® Prize Pack at the end of this post.**
Benefits of Handwriting
Research shows improved handwriting increases brain activation and benefits kids academically across all subject areas. In early childhood writing letters improves letter recognition. Better handwriting is also linked to better reading abilities. When children are able to write with ease they are better able to focus on the development of the ideas and content they are writing instead of concentrating on the act of forming letters legibly. Studies also show that when students write by hand instead of a using a keyboard they are more likely to write more, write faster, and further develop written ideas. The act of writing by hand has also been shown to increase the retention of the written information being recorded.
The good news is that kids don’t need a lot of time to practice handwriting to see positive results. In early childhood 15-20 minutes of handwriting practice a day can help kids become fluent at letter formation and basic handwriting skills.
In preschool many pre-writing activities are part of kids’ daily routines. These activities strengthen hands and wrists while helping fine tune those small motor skills. Examples are lacing, cutting, tearing paper, playing with play dough, using spray bottles, and manipulating tweezers and pipettes. Incorporating some of these activities into play at home and in the classroom is the first step to getting started with handwriting.
When teaching handwriting it is important for kids to learn proper pencil grip. Students should also be taught consistent letter formation patterns. As they write a letter they should follow the same letter formation strokes each time in order to become fluent at forming letters. Both of these factors can become habits that are hard to break if not learned early.
Ways to Get More Practice at Home
As kids begin learning to form letters writing trays can be a fun way to practice. They can be made with a variety of materials, but the most common ones are salt, sand, or shaving cream. To set up a writing tray place the material of your choice in a tray and encourage kids to form the letters currently being practiced. It is best to start with a few letters at a time as opposed to the entire alphabet. Most kids enjoy learning to write the letters of their name first.
Water painting is another way to practice letter formation. Use a paint brush and water to paint the letters on a sidewalk, fence or other surface that will show water marks.
Guess the Mystery Letter is a simple game you can play with kids learning letter formation. To play have kids form the letters on your back, palm of your hand, or arm and try to guess the letter being formed.
Although many teachers and parents choose not to use worksheets, handwriting practice pages used in moderation can be helpful for kids. They allow kids to follow the letter formation patterns as a guide, and the repetition can be valuable. However, follow the lead of your child. If your kid loves practice pages, by all means use them, but if your child complains and doesn’t want to do them, try one of the other options for a while. Either way I would not recommend more than 5 minutes of handwriting practice pages a day.
There are also some good apps that allow kids to form the letters of the alphabet. These can be another engaging way to practice letter formation.
Once children have learned to form letters and begin to spell words the next step to take is to keep them writing! The more they write the more fluent they will become at forming letters and words. Do encourage kids to write carefully so that writing is legible, and provide a lot of opportunities for meaningful writing at home. Below are some examples to get you started, but the possibilities are endless.
Write letters to friends and family
Write a letter to a character from a favorite show or movie
Write a book about a special event or vacation
Write a persuasive paper to a local politician about something you would like changed in your community
Keep a journal
Keep a nature discovery log
Draw and write comics
Make grocery lists
Make wish lists
Create a recipe book
Join BIC’s Mission to Save Handwriting
Take BIC’s pledge to save handwriting & enter for a chance to win a $1,200 BIC® Prize Pack to help your kids write more at home!
No Purchase Necessary, U.S. only, 18+. Ends 09/14/15. For details and full rules visit www.BICFightForYourWrite.com.
More information (sources)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bic. The opinions and text are all mine.