10 Secret Places to Practice Handwriting!by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L on the Handwriting is Fun! Blog School is in! And now the homework begins, sports start up again, and evenings become crammed with too many “to-do’s.” You know why I am here, of course. To remind you that handwriting should not take a backseat to soccer! But, you are no doubt wondering, “When do I fit in handwriting practice?” Well, I’m here to offer you 10 places you may not have thought about yet. Those are the secret places where you can sneak in a bit of handwriting practice without anyone the wiser. And best yet, it won’t take up any time dedicated to other tasks. Let’s have a go at it, shall we? As we all know, handwriting practice is more than worksheets, top-down lines, and paper positioning. Yes, those are certainly important steps in its mastery. And it is certainly essential to carve out 15 minutes of “sit-down” handwriting practice during the initial stages of instruction (K-4th grade). But, in everyday life, handwriting practice should be a natural part of the daily routine. Isn’t that the way we see it as adults? Let’s take a look at 10 ways that your student can slip handwriting practice into his schedule without giving up even one video game! Handwriting practice for the little tykes (5-7) At the breakfast table: This is the perfect place to provide a Write/Draw or Pencil Control Worksheet to occupy your young ones with entertainment and handwriting practice while you are prepping the meal. The children are fresh and alert and full of energy. You’ll have 5-10 minutes in which to get your work done and be able to sit and enjoy the meal with them! After the bath: Your little ones will be relaxed and ready for a nighttime story. But, as you get them settled in with a book, take a moment to have them jot down words or drawings in their journals that represent what they did that day. Just a short list of 3-4 activities they enjoyed. If they are motivated, have them write down why! On the way to the grocery story: Keep clipboards and pencils in your car and have them create some menu ideas using their favorite foods. You can even ask them to write your list for you as you drive. They won’t even know they are practicing handwriting! On the wall: No, not really! Tape paper on the wall near the door and have them write their schedules for the day. This is a quick way to get their racing minds organized and to structure their day. If mornings are too rushed, this can be done the night before as an aid to help them fill their backpacks. On the move: Have your little ones select a small notebook that will fit into their pockets. Encourage them to jot down their observations on your next walk or car ride. These observations can be journal prompts for extra handwriting practice! Handwriting skill development for the older ones (8+) In the library: Libraries are chock full of new information and exciting stories. I know that I’m always on the lookout for new authors and can’t always check out all my new discoveries. Suggest that your children have a “Library Finds” notebook in which they can jot down new authors, book titles, areas of interest, and library rules. This can be a valuable tool forever! While watching TV: Yes! During the commercials, have your children write down the ideas and messages they’ve gotten from them into a journal. All they need is just one line or two to record their thoughts. This activity enhances their concentration skills, as it asks them to complete two tasks at once – listening and writing. These notes could also be used as journal prompts for future writing activities! Reading Time: I love to jot down sentences or words that an author uses into a journal so that I can hone my writing skills. Have your children do the same. Each author uses the language in his own personal way. Their journal recordings can be a valuable reference as they work on their writing skills. They can look up definitions, antonyms, and synonyms for the words and analyze the ways the authors used them. On the Computer: Keyboarding does go hand-in-hand with handwriting! As your children research a topic, have them take notes – by hand – and not cut and paste into a word document! These can be short notes to remind them of an idea or to help draft a story. Taking notes, when the pressure for speed is off (such as in class) helps to build a fluid and speedy handwriting style. A Pen Pal Club: I love my pen pal! She and I have only connected by email once. That was simply to exchange addresses. It is so much fun to go to the mailbox and find her letters. Pen Pal Clubs can provide not only handwriting practice, but can be a valuable source for building communication, social, and community spirit skills. Handwriting practice doesn’t have to be painful! But let’s keep that a secret! As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments and hope to see you again next time! Katherine The Handwriting is Fun! Blog is published by and is the property of Handwriting With Katherine.
Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills. In her current book, Handwriting Development Assessment and Remediation: A Practice Model for Occupational Therapists, she shares a comprehensive guide and consistent tool for addressing handwriting development needs. She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.
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