How to Improve Handwriting for Kids

How to Improve Handwriting for Kids

Writing is not just about words and spelling; it also involves learning how to physically write letters and words. For kids who are just starting, this can be a learning process. Here are some easy ways to help your child get better at writing.

Benefits of Handwriting

Kids, maybe even you, might think handwriting belongs in the past, but it has many benefits that make it a skill worth learning and practising.

  • Practising handwriting skills boosts progress in literacy as a whole as kids' recognition of words and letters becomes more automatic.
  • Writing helps retain information better than only reading it or even typing it.
  • Handwriting develops fine motor control, which is the foundation of many other skills
  • Letters and notes written by hand have a more meaningful impact on the recipient than printed ones
  • Kids need to concentrate when writing with pen and paper, which can be calming

We have a list of Best Handwriting Apps. but read on to find out how to use them.

Handwriting Assessment for Kids

First, ask your kid's teacher if their school has a handwriting policy. Many do as it ensures that teachers in one class don't try to encourage kids to use one style in conflict with the advice of another teacher. Work within its guidelines to keep things consistent for your kids. A key point to remember is that handwriting's primary purpose is to make the words legible to the reader. Slight deviations from the ideal are not important as long as the text is readable and doesn't distract from the content.

Letter Spacing. 

Letters and words should be spaced just right. Cramped letters make words hard to read, and those too far apart make decoding words difficult and distinguishing where they start and finish difficult. Computers used to ignore this with early displays giving i as much space as m, which is unpleasant to read.

Word Spacing

Word spacing somewhat depends on the size of the writing as a whole. Imagine writing on a billboard with the same word spacing as this text; it would be unreadable. Generally, the space between words should be about the same as the writers' mid-sized letters, such as o.

Consistency

Kids sometimes try to add interest or creativity by changing handwriting styles. Sometimes they do this when writing longer pieces as their lack of practice makes their wrists ache; switching styles works the muscles differently. Handwriting that changes style is distracting for the reader. You'll probably have to look at a longer piece of your child's writing to spot problems with consistency.

Cursive

If your kids have moved on to cursive, they must remember how to correctly join their letters. There are different handwriting styles that your kids might be following, so don't assume they are wrong if it is not how you'd join the letters. Check with their school.

Content

Ensure you appreciate what your child has written, not just how they've written it. If your child has written a piece of original work, look for its positives, even if the handwriting isn't one of them.


Handwriting history fact!

The 23rd of January is National Handwriting Day, timed to coincide with John Hancock's birthday. This day is ideal for giving your kids' handwriting some attention.

John Hancock was born on this day in 1737 and became one of the founding fathers of the US after being a prominent leader of the revolutionaries fighting against British rule.

Hancock's link to handwriting comes from his signature on the Declaration of Independence. It is the largest and most flamboyant on the document, with later legends emerging that he said he signed this way so that the King of England could read his name without wearing spectacles!

This account of Hancock wanting the king to have no doubts about his loyalty to the revolutionaries did not appear until much later, so it may not be accurate. The emergence of this legend shows the strength Hancock felt towards his cause and why he is famous for more than his "John Hancock".


Ways to Improve your Child's Handwriting

Many parents have asked how to improve handwriting skills in their older child or teenager. Here are few ways to improve your child's handwriting:

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Handwriting needs kids to practice. Only by using the skill will they build up the muscle memory and endurance to use it fully. This practice-based approach means that kids need support to avoid slipping into bad habits. Kids who practice a lot but don't receive feedback might not notice a problem. After lots of practice, this habit will be difficult to break.

2. Importance of Support

Kids need guidance and support to prevent the development of bad handwriting habits, which can become difficult to correct over time. This is where educational apps can help with handwriting. They provide the material and support to help kids learn and develop their handwriting independently.

3. Exploring Games

Discover how games can aid in developing kids' handwriting skills, providing interactive exercises and corrective feedback.

4. Apps to developing kids' handwriting skills

Young kids can learn the basics of writing letters, including the direction of their strokes, using their fingers and an app. These apps appeal to kids and provide a level of correction that pens and paper do not. Older kids using an educational app will need some form of extra hardware. A cheap and simple stylus is a step closer to reflecting physical handwriting, but a smart stylus, like the Apple Pencil, replicates using a pen flawlessly.

Teacher Tips for Teaching Handwriting

1. Demonstrate

It is challenging to show kids how to form letters and words from the front of the class as your hand obscures the screen. Mirroring your device to a class display and using a stylus and touchscreen device will give you a better way of showing your class the correct technique.

2. Help Struggling individuals

Kids mustn't be left to develop bad habits, which can be hard to break. A handwriting app and stylus might not be something you can offer to the whole class, but the right app can help individuals who struggle to keep poor technique at bay.

3. Improve your technique

You might have learned to write using a different style from that directed by your school's handwriting policy, or you might have developed your own style. An app can be a great way to help you get back to the style you need to teach.

We held a webinar with the publisher of the Handwriting Success app, which you can view here for more information. Our teacher reviewers have recently certified Dynamilis Kids Handwriting.

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