Improving Your Child’s Handwriting Skills

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image from wikipedia

image from wikipedia

In modern day society, do handwriting skills still matter?  The answer is that yes, it is still important for your child to have good handwriting skills.  Even if your child decides to print or type instead of writing in cursive, it is still necessary to be able to read cursive letters.

I never realized until my handicapped child asked me to read her the menu at a restaurant.  She was able to read somewhat well, and I was shocked when she told me she couldn’t read the menu.  It turned out that her teacher believed that it would be too difficult to teach handicapped children print and cursive, and so she hadn’t taught the class cursive.  Because of this, my child was unable to read the menu.

As I read the menu to her, I realized that my child was actually illiterate!  Yes, she could read, and she could write, but she could only read if the lettering was in print! She also had no idea how to write in cursive.  I’m happy to say that the next teacher my child had taught the class cursive, so this was no longer an issue.

How do you reinforce your child’s handwriting skills when it’s so much more convenient to type? One of the best things you can do is to encourage your child to practice.  Some children really love to do handwriting exercises where they write the same letter or word over and over again in order to improve their skills.

With my children, I found that they really didn’t like to write, and repeating the same letters and words over and over again only confirmed that they really didn’t like handwriting.  Because of this, I had to find  “sneaky” ways to get them to practice writing.

For example, I asked them to write out my grocery list each week.  I also asked them to label things for me around the house and in the garden.  They never realized that the goal wasn’t to have the lists or the labels; the goal was to get them to practice their handwriting.

Another great way to get your child to practice writing is to find her a pen pal.  This doesn’t have to be a lot of work: just think about a relative or neighbor that might enjoy getting mail!  See if that relative would be willing to be a pen pal for your child. 

I’ve also found that a great way to get your children to practice is to have colorful pens and pencils for them to use.  It sounds trite, but it REALLY works.  You can find such items at your local teacher’s store.  For many years, I’d purchase the children a special pencil for each holiday at our local store.  They actually looked forward to their special pencils! 

If your child has trouble gripping the pencil correctly, or has trouble with muscle control, you can purchase a pencil grip to slide over the pencils.  They really help!

A friend of mine found another novel way to improve her son’s handwriting: she told him that girls really liked boys with good penmanship.  Did the ruse work?  Yes, it did work.  Her son, who is now grown, has great handwriting skills. 

Do you think that handwriting should still be taught in school?  Do you think that one day handwriting skills will become obsolete?

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