I recently collaborated with Help Me Grow Utah, a great Utah resource, to write a guest post, “3 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Kindergartener for Handwriting Success”.
As a follow up to the Help Me Grow Utah post, I wanted to share some very simple tools, products and resources to help your young student develop basic foundational skills for good handwriting!
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links as a convenient way to find products and tools recommended.
ENCOURAGE THE USE OF SMALL TOOLS
The use of small tools will require the small muscles of the hand to develop important fine motor skills for handwriting. You already have perfect items in your house right now: toothpicks, beads, string, pipe cleaners, tweezers, tongs, sticks, chalk, Legos, small game pieces, clothespins, paint brushes, etc. Get these out for play time to help develop fundamental fine motor skills!
Smaller is better! Stay away from thick or chunky writing tools for your young students. Buy the regular-sized pencils, crayons and thin markers. (Remember this when buying school supplies also.) In fact, save some money! Broken crayons and short pencils are ideal to encourage a proper pencil grasp.
Add a stylus to screens to encourage better fine motor skill development than just using fingers.
Below are examples and links to some of the small tools I use to help young students develop handwriting skills!
ENCOURAGE AN IDEAL PENCIL GRASP
“Let the pencil breathe!” Allow thumb, pointer and middle fingers to form an circle while the finger tips hold the pencil. If fingers or thumb are wrapped against the pencil, it is difficult for fingers to move effortlessly without getting tired.
ENCOURAGE FORMING LETTERS FROM THE TOP
Reinforce starting each capital and lowercase letter at the top with the exception of lowercase d and e (which start in the middle). Handwriting becomes more automatic when letters have a consistent starting point. Eventually, we want students to be thinking about the thoughts they are writing, not on how to write the letters.
I love using handwritingpractice.net to create free worksheets with correct starting points. (I recommend using the print letters with the starting point dots. I don’t recommend using the arrows from this website.)
Handwriting Without Tears letter formation charts are what I use to help children remember how to form their letters. (The letter formation from this program encourages more fluid letter strokes over the letter formation arrows in the previous website mentioned.)
You can also use Handwriting Without Tears workbooks specifically for your child’s grade level. It’s always convenient to have a workbook for them to follow. I love these products.
You can read my full article with tips for handwriting here on Help Me Grow Utah’s blog: 3 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Kindergartener for Handwriting Success
Help Me Grow Utah is a great Utah-based resource to help answer any parenting and child development questions a parent or provider has by providing information and community referrals. You can contact them at no cost by dialing 211 and asking for Help Me Grow.
*I am part of the Amazon Associates Program. If you choose to buy any of these products from Amazon, I’d love for you to purchase them through the links on my website to help support the work I do with Yums Theraplay! Thank you!