Handwriting is a very complex task with many different parts of the brain required to work simultaneously.
Establishing consistent letter formation is the first step towards developing automated writing. Once children have achieved this they are then able to dedicate more cognitive energy towards other elements of writing tasks such as spelling, sentence structure, content and page layout.
Children are deemed to have achieved automated writing when they can write the alphabet in less than 60 seconds.
It is helpful to practice letters in groups based on similar formation:
Bounce letters: b h k n m r p: These letters all start in the same fashion. They start at the top, go down and then bounce up when they get to the bottom.
Magic C letters: a c e d g q o: These letters all start with a ‘c’ shape, with the exception of the letter ‘e’ which finishes with a ‘c’ shape.
Slider letters: f i j l s t x z: These letters start at the top and slide in a downwards direction.
Cup letters: u v w y: In the Queensland Script, each of these letters begin with a ‘cup’ shape.
Reinforcement of the formation of letters can be done without having to pick up a pencil! Children are much more likely to engage in the task and practice more frequently if learning letter formations is approached through a play-based manner.
5 Fun ways to practise letters:
- Write with their finger in a tray of Hundreds & Thousands or sand.
- Make the letters out of Wiki Sticks or pipe cleaners and then trace over with their finger.
- Use stamps to go around letter tracks.
- Drive a toy car through letter tracks.
- Embrace technology! Handwriting apps such as Red Writing and Letter School can be highly motivating. Red Writing even has the Qld Beginner Font.
-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist
Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback. I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.