“How to Teach Hand-Printing” Blog
How To Teach Hand-Printing
How to Teach Hand-Printing gives parents and non-teachers step by step instructions. I also add it gives teachers step-by-step instructions too. This applies to children in Prep to Grade 4. However, many children persist in printing beyond Grade 4, even though they have been taught to write in ‘running writing’ or ‘joined up writing’ or whatever kiddy term is used for script in classrooms. This post also gives hints on how to help older children to improve their script.
Step By Step Instructions: Ten Minutes Per Day And Be Consistent. Are you unhappy about your child’s hand-printing? Maybe your child can write – a bit – and you want to improve it. The curriculum today is tight and many schools do not explicitly teach how to form letters. There is limited modelling in the classroom beyond Early Primary.
Writing Tools To Use
- What we use in Australia are writing books with two bold lines and two broken lines between them. [This is probably common around the English-speaking world anyway.] These come in various measurements Usually the greater the space the younger the child. Check with your school what your child should be using. Most children will recognise the spacing of their school writing books by just taking him or her to the stationery shop.
- A grip is helpful for young children. Even an older child who is having difficulty holding a pencil can benefit. They come in various designs and sizes. Your child may just have a small hand and need the extra support.
- Grey lead pencils also come in different thicknesses. You can buy coloured pencils as well that are thicker. These suit younger children better.
- Plain paper is available at stationery stores in rolls. Suitable for younger children.
How hand printing is NOT taught – what you can do: Handwriting today is rarely modelled by a teacher on a board beyond Grade 1. Even then, there is probably not enough. This has consequences for children’s learning.
- Without explicit modelling in the classroom, many children write their letters to reproduce what the finished letters look like. In fairness to teachers, writing on whiteboards is not easy. And electronic boards are irrelevant to the teaching of hand-writing skills.
- Close observation of children reveals that they often don’t know where to start writing a letter. Mark the starting point on each letter.
- For letters that are written in one stroke, children often write them in three separate strokes to make it ‘look right’ afterwards.
- The lack of teaching in this area is now cultivating bad habits in writing that are hard to break. In other words, children don’t know how to form letters unless expressly taught in Early Primary, and taken seriously.
- In the secondary school classroom, these habits translate into the popular adolescent line, “This is the way I write.” I have replied to such students, “If I can’t read it, your mark will suffer.” [No, I probably said, “You’ll fail the assignment”.] That usually got them thinking. They would try at least to make their writing legible.
- It often becomes the parent’s job to teach their own primary school child how to write. It is necessary to teach your child explicitly and conscientiously to compensate. All the hints are here.
The link just below takes you to the EduResearch Matters website and specifically to a discussion about keyboarding and handwriting.
The post is called: “Why Australia Is Falling Behind In Teaching Keyboarding and Handwriting“. This is a very readable post for parents and the general public. https://www.aare.edu.au/blog/?p=2450
Teaching children to write is hard work: Ten minutes out of a day is not a lot but consistency is important for success. Children will find it much easier to learn to write using rounded tops and bottoms on the body of the letters.
Say to children, “Around, up and down, tick”. [eg. d, a]
The other line is, “Down, up and around, tick.” [eg. p]
And by saying ‘tick’ you get a sharp little tick and not a ‘loop’. Accompany these lines with an upward inflection in your voice on the word ‘up’ and I usually do it in the air with my finger. The gestures and your spoken lines reinforce the child’s learning.