Handwriting and Posture: Revisiting Good Seating

Good PostureHandwriting and Posture:  Revisiting Good Seating

Handwriting and other fine motor tasks demand strength in the core body muscles to provide stability to the upper body and head so that the hands and fingers can engage with the eyes in the performance of precision tasks.  An efficient analysis of handwriting development skills and the development of an effective remediation plan to address handwriting needs should begin with the assessment of the writer’s seating arrangements.  Chair and desk sizes and heights are critical measurements that can provide the most basic and fundamental information about handwriting performance:  How is the seating supporting or hindering handwriting success.  In my book, Handwriting Development Assessment and Remediation:  A Practice Model for Occupational Therapists, I discuss this topic in detail.  In my post, “5 Reasons Why Handwriting Needs a Good Seat,” I share guidelines that can assist in the assessment of seating, as well as adaptations that can provide stability for your young writer.

5 Reasons Why Handwriting Needs a Good Seat

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, Handwriting With Katherine
Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, 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 and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  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.
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; in the Universal Publishing Handwriting Teachers’ Guides; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the author of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.

The Core Strengthening Handbook: A book review

The Core Strengthening Handbook 2

The Core Strengthening Handbook:  A Book Review

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

A great deal of my energy on the internet focuses on reading and sharing the work of my peers and the many knowledgeable professionals in the therapy and educational fields.  My belief in the networking system that technology affords us encourages me to seek out their work and to offer it to others in an effort to support both the writers and the readers.  The realm of social media casts a brand new opportunity in our direction to learn and grow together in ways that were never before available to us.  My quest for knowledge and the responsibility I feel for sharing it freely has set my course as one of impartiality and equality, allowing me to turn so many brilliant people’s work around for others to see.  In the end, that means that I rarely accept promotional offers to review products and to advertise them on any of my platforms.  And when I do, I never accept compensation for the privilege.  Those are the times when a product comes along that I believe offers exceptional benefits for us as therapists, parents, and teachers.

I have just recently come across a publication that speaks in a very eloquent way to a facet of handwriting skill development that I consider to be the most important building block for success.  The Core Strengthening Handbook is a new resource offered by Lauren Drobnjak, BS, PT, and Claire Heffron, MS, OTR, from The Inspired Treehouse.  I feel that it will serve as a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and therapists and I think that you will agree.   Let me share a review of the book to help you get acquainted with what it has to offer.

But before we begin, I’d like to discuss briefly the vital connection that core body strengthening has with handwriting mastery.  Elementary school children spend 30-85% of their classroom time working at their desks, dedicating their visual and fine motor skills to close work that predominantly involves handwriting activities.  (1,2)   Close work places demands on the visual system to maintain efficient focusing, scanning, fixating, and accommodating skills for reading, writing, and copying from text or the board.  The eyes need to stabilize their positon while the head and body move.  Core muscle strength provides the platform for this to happen.  In addition, upper body control plays a key role in the development of an efficient pencil grasp and a fluid penmanship style that allows the hand to glide across the paper in a timely manner.  The core body muscles provide the stability for efficient eye and upper body positioning allowing the student to attend to the task at hand instead of having to expend cognitive and physical energy on maintaining an upright head and body position.  This is accomplished with the help of muscle strengthening and the development of the vestibular system and balance skills.  In a New York Times article, “The Unappreciated, Holding our Lives in Balance,” Dr. Daniel Merfeld, director of the Vestibular Physiology Lab at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, described the Vestibular System’s job in a most interesting way:human-skeleton-johan-georg-heck

“Whenever we stand up and arrange our calves, thighs, torso and head into a stable, vertical configuration, we are unconsciously juggling six inverted pendulums, six mechanically independent units with masses above the pivot point – a feat that amounts to balancing six pencils on your palm simultaneously.”

The Vestibular System figures out where our head is relative to the floor and then tells the brain how to direct the muscles, joints, and ligaments in adjusting all of the masses and their pivot points to maintain our balance against gravity.  However, although an inefficient vestibular system can result in poor postural efficiency, its efficiency can also be limited due to inefficient core body strengthening.

The Core Strengthening Handbook

Lauren and Claire have designed their book to present the important message about core strengthening using developmental guidelines to instruct the reader about the muscles included in the body’s core and the progression of their development following typical gross motor milestones.  Their stated intent was to provide “a guide for supporting the development of core strength in children” and they have done that in an easy-to-understand resource for therapists, teachers, and parents.  They have acknowledged that the progression of a child’s gross motor development can be observed by his parents, who may often be the first to detect that their child is struggling with movement activities, as well as his teachers in their preschool through elementary grade classrooms.  The authors provide a well-written description of the journey a baby takes through tummy time, pulling to stand, and finally jumping using examples of observable movement patterns to help the reader visualize the muscles involved in the baby’s gross motor growth. For readers who are interested in the technical, Lauren and Claire share a brief description of the core muscles.

boy beach toys DariuszSankowski pixabayProbably one of the most important informational portions of the book is the section on “Why today’s kids aren’t as strong as they used to be.”  The authors discuss the importance of unstructured, spontaneous play in a child’s development of his core strength.  While they endorse the benefits of providing goal-directed activities to enhance core muscle strength, they recognize the importance of providing opportunities for children to have fun with simple playtime activities such as swinging, running, and climbing.  In an effort to encourage their readers to investigate the importance of play further, they have provided a link to an excellent article that shares a wealth of additional links and information.

The introductory chapter that begins their exciting list of core strengthening activities provides the reader with a better understanding of the behaviors that a child can exhibit when he is experiencing weak core muscles.  This is perhaps the most enticing method for gaining the attention of their audience and to compel them to buy their book!  When a parent or teacher understands that inefficient core muscle strength can result in poor posture, difficulty with transitional movements such as going from sitting to standing, challenges with dressing skills, and a poor pencil grasp, they will certainly want to learn more about how they can help their children with the fun and easy-to-use activities that follow!

The first impression I had when I began to investigate the book’s activities was that Lauren and Claire certainly know how to have fun!  They have provided a wide-range of strategies designed to engage the individual interests of the children as well as to facilitate their use in the home, classroom, or playground.  The activities range from those that include yoga, ball, and wedge components, which are the more advanced forms of core body strengthening work, through the easier to complete and more readily accessible everyday activities such as helping with chores or playing games on “all fours.”  Each strategy shares suggestions for grading the activity to match the child’s needs and for making the work fun for everyone.  The authors did not forget the babies!  They provide a group of playful activities that encourage tummy time and in turn engage the parent or caregiver in interaction with their child.

babies twins tummy time kangheungbo pixabay

My favorites?  Well, that was a difficult, for sure!  I lean toward selecting the Playground Ball Activities since they engage both the visual and the vestibular system in a very natural way.  But, who could not be interested in their Towel Activities!  I will definitely be including the Oblique Wake-Up Call in my next therapy session!  As far as assessment tools, I feel that their section on “Other Quick Core Strengthening Ideas” will come in handy the next time I’m working with a new client.  These six activities will tell me a great deal about his gross motor skills.

And did I mention that the book has pictures of the cutest children imaginable?  The Core Strengthening Handbook is certainly that – a handbook.  It is designed as both an informational resource as well as a quick reference for selecting activities that will work the core muscles.  If you have a moment, stop by The Inspired Treehouse and take a look at their site and this book.  I think you will be happy that you did!

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, Handwriting With Katherine
Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, 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 and is the author of “Handwriting Development Assessment and Remediation:  A Practice Model for Occupational Therapists.”  She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.

 
 
 
 
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; in the Universal Publishing Handwriting Teachers’ Guides; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the author of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.
 
Title photo is the property of  The Inspired Treehouse and should not be used without their expressed permission.  The human skeleton photo was published on the Figure Drawing Website  and its use should include the link to the author’s site.  All others are the property of the photographers at Pixabay.    Their use should include the link provided with the pictures.
References:
(1) Marr, D., Cermak, S., Cohn, E.S., & Henderson, A. (2003) Fine motor activities in Head Start and kindergarten classrooms.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 550-557.
(2) Mchale, K., and S. A. Cermak. “Fine Motor Activities in Elementary School: Preliminary Findings and Provisional Implications for Children With Fine Motor Problems.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy 46.10 (1992): 898-903. Web. 26 June 2015.

5 Nifty Handwriting Helpers Revisited

5 Nifty Handwriting Helpers Revisited

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

On June 16, 2015, I posted the original version of this blog, titled “Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers.”  (Don’t click yet, but you can find it here.)  Today, I am reposting it in a different format in an attempt to gather information about your reading preferences and learning styles.  The “Handwriting is Fun! Blog” runs for one purpose:  to share information.  If the information we share, however, does not meet your learning and reading needs, then we haven’t achieved our goal to provide our readers with pertinent and helpful information about handwriting development skills.

So, in the interest of bettering our blog and achieving our highest goals, I am asking you to read the first version (not yet!) and then to read this revised format.  After you have done that, I would be honored and thankful if you would share two pieces of information with me in the comment section of THIS BLOG VERSION:

  1. Which version did you prefer?
  2. Why did that version appeal to you?

Thank you in advance for participating in this informal research study!  I look forward to your feedback!  NOW YOU CAN CLICK ON THE FIRST VERSION!  (Don’t forget to return here to read the revised version!)

 

Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

This month, I am sharing a “Summer Handwriting Fun” series chock-full of articles written by myself and other therapy bloggers who have so graciously offered to share their work on my site.  This is the third in our series.  I hope you will find it useful and return to read some more next week!

 

What do we need before we get “good” at handwriting?

Alphabet Written on NotepadHandwriting mastery is actually based upon 5 basic handwriting helper skills.  They are:

  1. Body Awareness;
  2. Finger, Hand, and Wrist Strength;
  3. Vision and Sensory Skills;
  4. Posture; and
  5. Practice.

 

 

Although these five helpers are very important skills in handwriting development, they are not too be taken too seriously.  They can be developed during most play experiences all along a child’s developmental stages.  Today, we are going to take a look at the ways that we can engage our elementary school-aged “handwriters” in some “Summer Fun” that works on these skills!

 

The Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers!

  1. Body Awareness

This helper is

  • our “internal map” that lets us know where all of our body parts are – without our having to look at them to find out!
  • how we understand directional concepts, like up and down, left and right.
  • what gives us a perspective about navigating our environment.
  • the foundation that provides a child with the basic skills for learning letter formations, spacing, and fitting words and sentences on a line and a page.

 

Body Awareness can be developed through activities such as:

Yoga helps us with our body awareness!
Yoga helps us with our body awareness!

 

+  balance and coordination,

+  concentration, and

+  visual attention skills.

 

 

 

+  make left and right turns,

+  look up,

+  check on top or behind, and

+  look under.

 

Watch a cool movement video from The PE Update Blog!
Watch a cool movement video from The PE Update Blog!
  • Relay races, tug-of-war, musical chairs, or simply rolling down a hill provides children with opportunities to

+  use the left and right sides of their bodies,

+  manage their weight against gravity, and

+  determine the distance between themselves and other people or objects.

Skateboarding and roller skating will definitely do the trick!

 

 

 2.  Finger, Hand, and Wrist Strength

This helper provides the foundation for

  • efficient pencil control skills, and
  • the ability to write for sustained periods of time with legibility and speed.

 

Fine-motor strengthening can be developed through activities such as:

 

  • Spending time on the playground.   Playground equipment offers children opportunities to use their fingers, hands, and wrists to

 

Playgrounds build both gross- and fine-motor skills!
Playgrounds build both gross- and fine-motor skills!

+  push,

+  pull,

+  grab ahold, and

+  hold on.

And, as an added bonus, playgrounds also help to build gross motor strength for posture!

 

 

 

+  use their two hands together for precision work;

+  manipulate different tools and textures; and

+  use their fingers, hands, and wrists for sustained periods of fine motor activity;

Art also allows older children to enhance their fine-motor strength as they develop their creativity and visual perceptual skills.

 

 

  • Gardening projects such as potted or plotted gardens for herbs, vegetables, or flowers, allow children to use their hands to

 

+  dig in the soil,vegetables-condesign-pixabay

+  plant seeds, and

+  pull weeds,

while they experience a sense of joy and accomplishment and build self-esteem.

Sewing, woodworking, and building model airplanes also work well for that!

 

 

3.  Vision and Sensory Skills

These helpers are those that allow children

 

They also provide children with an understanding of their environment through their senses of

  • sight,
  • hearing,
  • touch,
  • taste, and
  • smell.

 

Vision and Sensory Skills can be developed through activities such as:

  • board game dantetg pixabayBoard Games.  They offer opportunities for children of all ages to

+  maintain eye contact,

+  focus with near vision, and

+  use eye movements to follow the game.

If you add a bit of mystery, let’s say by hiding the pieces of a word game in a plastic bin filled with sand, then you are working on the sense of touch at the same time!

 

 

  • Music and dancing activities that ask children to learn new motor planning sequences, or practice previously learned routines, provide sight, hearing, and tactile experiences through dance-alexas fotos pixabay

+  movement and

+  imitation.

 

 

 

 

  • magic-cube-domenicblair pixabayPuzzles, both of the magic cube and interlocking type, provide visual skill enhancement as they demand

        +  visual attention,

        +  efficient scanning techniques, and

        +  visual perceptual skills to complete them.

 

 

4.  Posture

This helper allows children to learn using efficient

 

Postural skills can be developed through activities such as:

  • Walking, climbing, hiking, and biking, as well as exercises such wheelbarrow walks and races.  These activities enhance a child’shiking family-pezibear pixabay

+  Core Body Muscles

+  balance, and

+  coordination.

 

 

 

  • Sports enhance both vision and postural muscles!
    Sports enhance both vision and postural muscles!

    Sports that include visual attention skills, such as ball challenges for the younger children, or bike riding or skateboarding through an obstacle course for the older ones, provide opportunities for

 

        +  building core body muscles and

         +  vision skills.

 

Vision and Posture are developmental partners:  Vision skills enhance the development of the core body muscles – and the core body muscles enhance the development of vision skills.

 

 

+  understand what “posture” is,

+  develop good postural habits, and

+  appreciate the importance of having good posture.

 

 

5. Practice

This helper allows children to

  • master their handwriting skills and
  • understand and appreciate their functional use.

 

Functional Practice of handwriting skills can be accomplished through activities such as:

 

 

 

 

 

To-Do-List_PrintableMaking lists for groceries, to-do’s, and people to invite to their birthday party.

 

 

 

 

trip maps

Recording their creative thoughts or journey experiences using writing prompts or travel journals.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope I’ve shared some different and exciting ideas for including the 5 Nifty Handwriting Helpers in your child’s Summer Fun!

As always, thanks for reading!  And I look forward to your comments and feedback.

 

Katherine

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/LKatherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.
 
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; in the Universal Publishing Handwriting Teachers’ Guides; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the author of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.
 

Top 5 Ways to Get Away From Table-Top Writing Activities

The “Summer Handwriting Fun” series proudly presents a Guest Post from    OT Mommy!  We are thrilled that she has joined us to share her inspirational strengthening activities that will help children enhance the physical skills they will need to master handwriting.  Handwriting brings cognitive, fine-motor, and physical skills to the table each time we sit down to write.  Mommy OT is here to offer ways to work on those skills while we are away from the table!  I know you will enjoy her work!  Be sure to visit her site and comment on this article so that she knows how much you appreciate her!  OK, OT Mommy, we’re ready!

 

Top 5 Ways to Get Away From Table-Top Activities

 

 

student falls alseep at desk with book open
Clipart provided by Classroomclipart

If you are tired of the same ol’ sitting at the table, pencil and paper tasks, try switching it up with change of scenery, or at least a change in position. Altering body positions can be easily incorporated to enhance a therapy session individually or as stations in an obstacle course.

Take a look at my Top 5 Summer Themed Positions for Writing.

 

 

  1. The Backstroke

Have the student lay on his/her back under a table while coloring or writing. Not only will this position encourage bilateral use of hands by forcing the child to keep the paper from falling, it will also address shoulder strengthening and visual attention.

 

  1. The Doggy Paddle

High or Half Kneeling at a wall or an easel during a painting or writing activity will challenge the student’s core. A strong and healthy trunk can help to improve posture, digestion and respiration. Make sure to provide a yoga mat or a pillow to help with any knee discomfort.

 

  1. The Crawl Stoke
boy-wearing-hat-in-pool-sitting-inner-tube
Clipart provided by Classroomclipart

Clear the floor to provide enough space for your student to lay on his/her belly. My students love navigating through an obstacle course and ending with writing practice on the yoga mat. Weight bearing through the shoulders helps the students keep the forearms down and achieve a more dynamic grasp pattern during pencil paper tasks.

 

  1. The High Dive

Have the student stand at a canvas taped to the wall or door. Add a challenge by having the student complete wall push ups between tasks.

 

  1. The Free Style

Free Style is just that. It is the chance to mix it up for the student to experience the complex skill of handwriting in an environment other than at the table. No pencil or paper is needed here. Watch the child visualize the letters when a peer uses his/her finger to write on his/her back. Or head to the sandbox and use sticks to draw in the sand. Or to the sidewalk to challenge the tolerance of vibratory feedback when the chalk is dragged along the pavement.   Or barefoot in the grass using their feet to form the letters with different muscle groups. Open it up to the students to guide how they want their therapy to be done.

 

By changing the way an activity is presented, you can awaken the senses and get more bang for the buck.

 

Rebecca Klockars is a mom, occupational therapist, RESNA certified assistive technology professional and author of the blog OTMommy Needs Her Coffee.  When not ranting and raving about things to do with her children (her own and the school-based kids too) she enjoys cooking, reading and building things with PVC, duct tape and velcro.  For more information, visit www.otmommy.blogspot.com

 

 

 

10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun
10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun
Spaghetti and Meatball Spacing From Miss Jaime OT
Spaghetti and Meatball Spacing From Miss Jaime OT
5 Nifty Handwriting Helpers
5 Nifty Handwriting Helpers

Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers

Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

This month, I am sharing a “Summer Handwriting Fun” series chock-full of articles written by myself and other therapy bloggers who have so graciously offered to share their work on my site.  This is the next in our series.  I hope you will find it useful and return to read some more next week!

 

What do we need before we get “good” at handwriting?

Alphabet Written on NotepadHandwriting mastery is actually based upon 5 basic handwriting helper skills.  They are:

 

  1. Body Awareness;
  2. Finger, Hand, and Wrist Strength;
  3. Vision and Sensory Skills;
  4. Posture; and
  5. Practice.

 

Although these five helpers are very important skills in handwriting development, they are not too be taken too seriously.  They can be developed during most play experiences all along a child’s developmental stages.  Today, we are going to take a look at the ways that we can engage our elementary school-aged “handwriters” in some “Summer Fun” that works on these skills!

 

The Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers!

  1. Body Awareness

    What is body awareness?  It’s simply our “internal map” that lets us know where all of our body parts are – without our having to look at them to find out!  It helps us to understand directional concepts, like up and down, left and right, and gives us a perspective about navigating our environment.  All of this provides a child with the basic skills for learning letter formations, spacing, and fitting words and sentences on a line and a page.

 

What are some fun body awareness activities?

Yoga has been shown to develop balance and coordination, concentration, and visual attention in children, as well as adults.

Yoga helps us with our body awareness!
Yoga helps us with our body awareness!

A fun yoga session can be as simple as including two or three “special for kids” poses outside on the lawn, just before bed, or during a quiet time in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Treasure and Scavenger Hunts are excellent “follow directions” activities that encourage children to use their internal maps to locate and discover the hidden objects.  Be sure to provide written directions that ask them to

  • make left and right turns,
  • look up,
  • check on top or behind, and
  • look under.

 

Anything that produces movement enhances body awareness!

Watch a cool movement video from The PE Update Blog!
Watch a cool movement video from The PE Update Blog!

Relay races, tug-of-war, musical chairs, or simply rolling down a hill provide children with opportunities to use the left and right sides of their bodies, manage their weight against gravity, and determine the distance between themselves and other people or objects.  Skateboarding and roller skating will definitely do the trick!

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Finger, Hand, and Wrist Strength

Why do we need this?  These three guys are vital components in efficient handwriting.  They provide children with pencil control and the ability to write for sustained periods of time with legibility and speed.

What are some fun fine-motor strengthening activities?

Art can enhance writing!
Art can enhance writing!

Art is simply the best way to introduce fine motor strengthening activities to children!    There are so many fun ways to develop these skills with sensory and creative components using simple paints, play dough, and putty.   Therapy Street for Kids offers a selection recipes for these supplies that I think you will find interesting, easy to make, and easy on the budget.

There’s even one for Pretzel Dough where you get the eat the final product!

 

 

Playgrounds build both gross- and fine-motor skills!
Playgrounds build both gross- and fine-motor skills!

The playground is an excellent place to build strength in the fingers, hands, and wrists.  Pushing, pulling, grabbing, and holding on are all fine-motor workouts.  And, as an added bonus, playgrounds also help to build gross motor strength for posture!

 

 

 

Gardening with children encourages lots and lots of fine-motor skill development.  Whether you choose potted or plotted gardens, herbs or

vegetables-condesign-pixabayvegetables, children can dig in and get their hands dirty as they work the soil, plant the seeds, and pull weeds!  The activity itself brings a sense of joy and accomplishment that builds self-esteem, too!  Sewing, woodworking, and building model airplanes also work well for that!

 

 

3.  Vision and Sensory Skills

 

Why do we need to worry about vision and sensory skills?

Efficient visual skills are essential toward the mastery of handwriting.  Seeing clearly, focusing effectively at near and far distances, and being able to remember what we see are necessary tools for learning and remembering letter formations. Since 75-90% of what a child learns in a classroom occurs though his vision, it is very important for us to care about his vision skills.    Sensory processing skills are those that allow us to experience and understand our environment through what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, as well as from how our bodies move.  Efficient sensory processing gives children the information they need to feel safe, learn without distraction, and remember what they’ve learned.

 

What are some fun vision and sensory processing activities?

board game dantetg pixabayJust about any Board Game will hit upon the visual skills.  They demand eye contact, focusing with near vision, and eye movement to follow the game.  If you add a bit of mystery, let’s say by hiding the pieces of a word game in a plastic bin filled with sand, then you are working on the sense of touch at the same time!

 

 

Music and dancing can work for just about any of these five nifty skills.  dance-alexas fotos pixabay

But the movement and imitation involved in learning a new dance enhances the senses of sight, hearing, and movement.

 

 

magic-cube-domenicblair pixabay

 

Puzzles, both of the magic cube and interlocking type, provide plenty of visual skill enhancement as they demand visual attention, efficient scanning techniques, and visual perceptual skills to complete them.

 

 

 

4.  Posture

Why should we care about posture?

Posture and head positioning play a big role in efficient handwriting.  We’ve all heard the commands “make sure your feet are flat on the floor” and “sit up straight.”  Appropriate table and chair heights are crucial to providing a child with the support he needs to maintain his head up, shoulders back and back straight.  But, if a child is experiencing difficulty keeping a good postural alignment despite having the correct measures in place, then chances are he has weak postural muscles.  But it can be so difficult at times to help children understand the importance of building those muscles and protecting their backs.  The Kids Health Network shares a “posture perfect poster” that helps us to explain this in a “kid-friendly” way.

 

What are some fun posture enhancing activities?

 

Attention paid to the Core Body Muscles is attention well spent!  Exercises, presented in activities such as wheelbarrow walks and races, are fun ways to encourage the strengthening of the postural muscles.  hiking family-pezibear pixabayClimbing, hiking, biking, and even just plain walking enhance balance and coordination while working on the legs, back, trunk, shoulders, and neck muscles.

 

 

 

 

Sports enhance both vision and postural muscles!
Sports enhance both vision and postural muscles!

What you see is what you get when it come to posture.  Vision skills enhance the development of the core body muscles – and the core body muscles enhance the development of vision skills!  So, it is important to incorporate visual attention within the gross motor activities that you choose to enhance postural skills.  Vision-enhanced gross motor activities range from playing fun ball challenges with the younger children to maneuvering a bicycle or scoreboard through an obstacle course with your older guys and gals.

 

5. Practice

Why do we need to practice even in the summer?

In order to learn a skill – any skill, we need to practice it in a functional manner.  If a child is interested in volleyball, then he must eventually get out onto the beach and kick up some sand by the net.  If he’s interested in skiing, he can watch all of the instructional videos, build his core muscle strength, and buy the best equipment.  But, in the end, he will only master the sport by slipping and sliding down the slope.  The same goes for mastering the handwriting skill.  Build the skills and then use them!


 

What are some fun handwriting practice activities?

 

Nothing beats writing a letter to a friend or family member.  Nothing.  elephant mosaic ben kerckx pixabayjpg

Have the children design their own cards with fun art projects and send them off with a message in their own handwriting.

 

 

 

 

To-Do-List_PrintableLists make great handwriting practice activities:  groceries, to-do’s, and people to invite to their birthday party.

 

 

 

 

trip maps

And there’s always the great writing prompts or travel journal.  This is my favorite way to encourage handwriting practice during the summer.

 

 

 

 

I hope I’ve shared some different and exciting ideas for including the Five Nifty Handwriting Helpers in your child’s Summer Fun!

 

As always, thanks for reading!  And I look forward to your comments and feedback.

 

And please return next week to discover some more Summer Handwriting Fun tips from our next Guest Blogger, Becca Klockars, an OT from Providence, RI!  Hope to see you there!

 

Katherine

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/LKatherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.
 
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; in the Universal Publishing Handwriting Teachers’ Guides; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the author of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.
 
Summer Handwriting Fun Series #1            Summer Handwriting Fun Series #2
10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun
10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun
Spaghetti and Meatball Spacing From Miss Jaime OT
Spaghetti and Meatball Spacing From Miss Jaime OT

Handwriting Tips Revisited: 10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun!

Most Important Thing About Handwriting
———Property of Handwriting With Katherine———

10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun!

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

 

This month, I am sharing a “Summer Handwriting Fun” series chock-full of articles written by myself and other therapy bloggers who have so graciously offered to share their work on my site.  This is the first in our series.  I hope you will find it useful and return to read some more next week!

 

Note:  This original blog was posted on June 2, 2015, as part of the above series.  At that time, I was honored to be a guest blogger on Special-Ism where I’d shared the 10 Tips for Summer Handwriting Fun.  Their site and my article, however, are no longer available.   My article below, “10 Secret Places to Practice Handwriting,” shares interesting options to encourage school-aged children to use their handwriting skills in everyday activities – pairing practice with function.    I think that you will find it useful.

 

Introduction

smiling girl pixabay

Time spent at home on the weekends is an opportunity for children of all ages to spend more time on outdoor play and less time “hitting the books!”  Although learning does not end with the school day or week, desk work becomes less appealing as on option for practicing handwriting.  The neatest thing about handwriting practice, however, is that it does not need to be completed at a desk, or even sitting down!  Let’s explore some fun activities that help children maintain and increase their handwriting mastery skills.

BUT, before we begin our journey, let’s take a look at one important fact:  Handwriting mastery is not accomplished simply by practicing letters over and over to produce a legible word.  That is the final destination.  The road to legibility, however, is paved with many other skills.  To master handwriting skills children need to develop efficient:

  • visual-motor skills – that provide them with accurate and precise eye movements that range from near to far,
  • visual-perceptual skills –  that help them to process visual information,
  • gross-motor skills – that give them strong muscles to maintain their posture, and
  • fine-motor skills – that help them to produce precision movements with their hands.

And functional, everyday writing activities can enhance the development of these skills.

Click on the picture below to read my article, “10 Secret Places to Practice Handwriting.”

 

10 Secret Places to Practice Handwriting by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

 

 

The Handwriting is Fun! Blog is published by and is the property of Handwriting With Katherine.

 

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, Handwriting With Katherine
Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, owner, 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.

Collmer Handwriting Development Assessment and Remediation

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures above that are the property of the author must provide a link back to this article or her website.

Pictures that are the property of the photographers at Pixabay should include the link provided with the photo to give proper credit to their owners.

Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; in the Universal Publishing Handwriting Teachers’ Guides; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the author of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.

Handy Handwriting Visuals!

Handy Handwriting Visuals

 from Handwriting With Katherine

 Just click on our pictures to get a better view!

 

Graph paper provides visual cues for letter spacing and alignment.

 

Slanted paper and a 3-ring binder can facilitate a fluid handwriting style.

 

Appropriate seating requires 90-degree angles at the elbows, hips, knees, and ankles!

 

Sandpaper provides tactile input to help with pencil pressure!
Writing on a vertical surface enhances handwriting mastery!
Seating height is an important link to handwriting mastery!
Seating height is an important link to handwriting mastery!

5 Reasons Why Handwriting Needs a Good Seat

Good Posture

5 Reasons Why Handwriting Needs a Good Seat

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

Handwriting skills are developed over time with experiences that involve the eyes, hands, arms, and body. There are so many movements that build up to fine-motor efficiency!

www.handwritingwithkatherine.com
www.handwritingwithkatherine.com

These links involve visual, motor, and sensory skills in order to fine-tune each of their movements as they challenge the other parts to stay on the same course. So, when children are learning letter formations in kindergarten, their skills depend upon the ability of each of these parts to “do its own part!”

One of the most important facets of a child’s handwriting success is his chair. Yes, the chair plays a key role in placing the important parts of the body in the correct place for building handwriting skills. Here’s why!

Seating Tips

  1. An appropriately sized chair places a student’s feet flat on the floor, resting easily with a 90-degree angle at the ankles. This provides a stable foundation for sitting comfortably in the chair without slouching. This will place the knees into a 90-degree angle, as well, allowing the student to sit back in the chair with an erect posture.
  1. When a student is able to sit comfortably toward the back of his chair, his hips will naturally fall into a 90-degree angle and allow him to maintain an upright posture for fine-motor work.
  1. The back of the knees should not be more than 1” from the edge of the edge of the chair to avoid cutting into the student’s leg and to prevent slouching toward the front of the chair.

    Seating height is an important link to handwriting mastery!
    Seating height is an important link to handwriting mastery!
  1. When a student is seated comfortably using the “90-Degree Angle Rule,” the tops of his legs should not touch the bottom of the desk. If there is a tight fit between the tops of his legs and the bottom of the desk, then the desk is too low.
  1. When a chair provides a stable sitting posture, it is easier to adjust the desk height to fit each student’s handwriting needs. The desktop should be between 1 and 1-1/2” from the bottom of the student’s flexed elbow. This allows the student to rest his arm comfortably on the desk and to utilize smooth handwriting movements.

Now that we’ve determined the correct chair and desk heights for our young hand writers, let’s talk about 5 quick fixes that can help you get these parts into the right places!

5 Quick Fixes for Chairs and Desks

  1. If a child’s feet do not touch the floor, a book or small stool under his feet can place his ankles into a 90-degree angle and allow his feet to rest flat in a comfortable position.
  1. If a child’s chair is too low, he can sit on a book or cushion to raise him up and place his hips and knees into 90-degree angles.
  1. If a child’s desk is too low and cannot be adjusted, and his chair is at an appropriate height, books can be placed under the legs of the desk to raise it up. This is not an optimal solution but will do in a pinch!
  1. If a child’s desk is too high, and his chair is at appropriate height, a book under his feet and a cushion on his chair should bring him up to the correct elbow height for handwriting ease.
Writing on a vertical surface enhances handwriting mastery!
Writing on a vertical surface enhances handwriting mastery!
  1. If all else fails, then the best possible solution would be to allow the student to stand at a table or counter that is at elbow height to complete his handwriting work. If this is not available, then he can work on a vertical surface (taping his worksheet to the wall), which will also help him develop strength in his shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and fingers!

By providing students with the appropriate chair and desk heights for handwriting skills, we are giving them the opportunity to learn correct posture for every time they are seated in a chair or at a desk!

Good posture is a life-long skill!

I hope that you have found this resource to be helpful.

If so, you can download a free printable on my website!

As always, thanks for reading! Hope to see you next time,

Katherine

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  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.
 
 
 
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the authors of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.
 
(All photos are the property of Handwriting With Katherine and their use must include a link to this blog or the Handwriting With Katherine website.)

5 Handwriting Helpers For Older Students

 

5 Handwriting Helpers for Older Students

by Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

on the Handwriting is Fun! Blog

Three boys playing tug-of-war

To describe the challenge of teaching (or reteaching) handwriting to older children as a tug-of-war is an understatement! 

 

Unfortunately, they have learned so many ineffective habits that their motor memory for handwriting resists any changes.  When a young guy or gal resists a try at slanting the paper and says, “But, I write better with my paper straight up and down” when, in fact, his or her handwriting is illegible…well, that’s just a natural response to the pull on an ingrained motor memory.  And messy, unreadable handwriting may appear to be simply the result of a student’s rushing through his work; but, in fact, it can be due to handwriting skills that have not been fully developed and the inability of the writer to produce fluent and automatic letter formations.

 

Steve Graham, during his tenure as a Curry Ingram Professor of Special Education and Literacy at Vanderbuilt University, authored an enlightening article,  “Want to Improve Children’s Writing?  Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting.”  In this report, he shares research that indicates that while most people’s handwriting becomes fluid and automatic, “researchers do not yet know when most youngsters reach this point, but it does not appear to be during the early elementary years.  In grades 4 to 6, handwriting fluency still accounts for 42 percent of the variability in the quality of children’s writing and students’ handwriting speed continues to increase at least until grade 9.”  With that said, it is definitely not too late to tug on the motor memories of older students!

 

So, how do we do that, you say?  I’ve put together 5 starting points to lay the groundwork for improving handwriting skills of older children. 

It’s important to remember one very significant point here:  If a child is struggling with handwriting in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade, then chances are that there is an underlying cause that has more to do with vision or cognitive skills than with sitting down at a desk and reproducing the letter “c” 4-5 times per line!  Hence, it is important to seek some advice from your child’s doctor, as well as an occupational therapist who is trained in handwriting skill assessment and remediation. 

OK, NOW THAT WE HAVE THAT OUT OF THE WAY…

 

1.  First, I cannot stress enough the importance of appropriate body and paper positioning!

 As we age, we develop our own “style” of sitting posture.  This is actually a result of the seating arrangements we’ve been exposed to, as well as the physical strengths that we have acquired, throughout the first years of our lives.  Posture – “shoulders back, back straight, and eyes forward” – is not a luxury and should be taught early in a child’s educational experience.  Good posture provides students with the tools they need to utilize rhythm and movement to produce fluid handwritng strokes.  We can only help them to learn the correct posture if we provide them with the appropriate chair and desk heights that address their individual needs. 

Once we have positioned the body effectively, we need to align the writing surface efficiently to allow for a smooth, legible handwriting style.  A slightly slanted paper provides right-handed writers with the ease of gliding across the paper, while it also lessens the chance for left-handed writers to smudge their work.

2.  Now we can focus on the “reinvention of the pencil grip!”

 Children with weak muscles in their upper extremities have often adapted to that by grabbing hold of the pencil for dear life and pushing it into the paper!  Some have no idea that their grip is too loose and are frequently having to pick the pencil up off the  floor as it “seems to fall out of my hand all of the time!”  I’d like to say that all you need to do is to find the right adaptive pencil grip.  HOWEVER,  I’m not going to say that because then we would be jumping to a Bandaid fix before we address the underlying cause of the problem.

Learning a new hobby is fun, too!

Learning a new hobby is fun, too!

 

Learning a new hobby is fun, too!

As with any other muscle development program, exercises that are designed to address specific muscle groups are the foundational elements of a fitness plan.   I’ve learned over the years that older students tend to follow through on a program if it interests them!  A fine-motor exercise program can include art projects, music practice, gardening tasks, and sports practice.  Once you have their interest, then you can offer strengthening activities such as modeling clay, finger strengthening exercises for guitar skills, arm and hand exercises to enhance their baseball game, or hand strengthening activities for gardening tasks.  They won’t even know they are working on grip strength!

 

3.  But what about those “gross” ways that some children hold their pencils? 

The Cool Cotton Ball Trick!
The Cool Cotton Ball Trick!

It is important to look at the practical side of things.  Not all pencil grasping patterns are created equal.  Some are efficient even if they are, well, ugly!  So, as they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  However, if the students are experiencing handwriting challenges, and their preferred grip appears to be one of the culprits, then it is definitely important to address it.

A tripod grasp is reasonably comfortable for most writers.  The pencil is held between the thumb and index finger, resting on the middle finger about an inch from the pencil point.  (Left-handed writers should hold their pencil back a bit further from the tip to encourage an appropriate wrist position.)  One of the ways that I encourage the switch to this grip is by challenging my older students to tuck a cotton ball into the palm of their hand and to hold it there with their ring and little fingers.  This reminds them to keep those fingers OUT OF THE WAY while it strengthens the motor memory for a tripod grasp.  They can use a penny or small eraser, too.

 

4.  Give them lots of movement and sensory experiences

Get their eyes moving with challenging games like tether ball.   Hang a soft ball from the ceiling on a string, any size from 5-10″ around, positioned at eye level.  They can practice precision eye movements by “keeping their eye on the ball” while tapping it up or sideways in controlled patterns.

The Vision Tracking Tube is a fun challenge for older students!
The Vision Tracking Tube is a fun challenge for older students!

The Vision Tracking Tube is a fun challenge for older students!

Sensory activities, such as kneading bread dough, planting in the garden, jumping and reaching in basketball, or running and reaching in tennis, combine movement, vision, and proprioception to enhance fine motor skills. 

Visualization is an essential skill for the automatic reproduction of letters and words.  Drawing letter formations in the air, identifying those that are “written” on your back, or “blind writing” (drawing letters, numbers, or pictures with your eyes closed) are fun visualization activities.  And even older students can enjoy using finger paints to practice letter formations, drawing letters in shaving cream, or finding the hidden beads in putty!  Believe me, even the adults enjoy that!

 

5.  Finally, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! 

No, not by pulling out a worksheet and attempting to reproduce a perfect letter time after time.   (I’m not sure any of us can actually do that!)  But, encourage creative writing with ideas that also practice their handwriting.  Journals, poems, stories, newspaper articles, and letters to relatives are wonderful (and useful) ways to provide meaningful opportunities for older students to practice and hone their handwriting skills.  And Cursive Clubs have begun to spring up all over as fun ways to turn handwriting skills from Practiced to Functional!

Cursive Clubs are great ways to help older children gain confidence in their handwriting skills!
Click here for free Cursive Club Downloadables!

 

 

So, what do you think?  Willing to give it a try?  I would love to hear your tricks for older students and your feedback! 

As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

Katherine

 

(1) Graham, Steve. “Want To Improve Children’s Writing? Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting.” American Educator 2009-2010 Winter (2010): 20+. Http://orbida.org/resources/events/GRAHAMHANDWRITING.PDF. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://orbida.org/resources/events/GRAHAMHANDWRITING.PDF>.

 

 

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/LKatherine 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.

Collmer Handwriting Development Assessment and Remediation

http://www.handwritingwithkatherine.com/handwriting-development-assessment-and-remediation-book.html

 

 

 

 

Pictures above that are the property of the author must provide a link back to this article or her website.

 

1 Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or the professional judgement of health care professionals in evaluating and treating patients. The author encourages the reader to review and verify the timeliness of information found on supporting links before it is used to make professional decisions. The author also encourages practitioners to check their state OT regulatory board/agency for the latest information about regulatory requirements regarding the provision of occupational therapy via telehealth.

 

 

Posture, Paper Placement, & Pencil Grip: 3 Links to Handwriting Success

Seating height is an important link to correct posture!
Seating height is an important link to correct posture!

 

 

Handwriting mastery is a complex skill. Yes, I admit that it is. But, just like any other skill, there are some basic procedures that must be learned before a beginner can hope to become a master. For handwriting success, there are 3 performance areas that simply need to be taught right from the start.

 

 

Let’s have a look at them, shall we?

 

1.  Posture

A writer’s sitting posture should be comfortable and provide a sturdy foundation for a smooth handwriting style. It’s very simple to figure out, really, if you remember the “90-90-90 Angle Rule.”

When students are seated at their desks:

  • Their feet should rest flat on the floor with a 90-degree angle at the ankles.
  • Their knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle about an inch away from the seat of the chair.
  • Their hips should be positioned at a 90-degree angle and nestled comfortably into the back of the seat.

 

These angles will allow the students to rest their elbows on the desk in a comfortable flexed position. For right-handers, it will also place their arm in a neutral position with a slightly flexed wrist for a smooth glide across the page. Left-handed writers should maintain a straight wrist position to avoid a “hooked wrist” handwriting style.

 

Important Note: This Angle Rule can only be followed if the chair is the appropriate height for the writer!   Why?

  • If the chair is too low, students may sit on their feet or hunch their shoulders to get a better look at their work.
  • If the chair is too high, their feet will dangle beneath them.   Students may sit on their feet to stabilize their bodies or slouch so that they can get closer to their work.

But, don’t fret! There are easy solutions to both of these problems.

  • For chairs that are too low, have the students sit on a book or sturdy cushion to bring the ankles, knees, and hips into the 90-degree angle.
  • For chairs that are too high, place a book under the students’ feet to provide the stabilizing 90-degree angle at the ankles.

 

 

2.  Paper Placement

Slanted paper and a 3-ring binder can facilitate a fluid handwriting style.
Slanted paper and a 3-ring binder can facilitate a fluid handwriting style.

There are two schools of thought about the appropriate placement of paper for handwriting success. The following is my preferred guidelines!

Handwriting mastery requires smooth wrist, elbow, and shoulder movements.   A slanted paper position allows the writer to use the hand, arm, and shoulder efficiently.

 

  • For all writers, the paper should be positioned at the student’s midline with the bottom angle placed about 1” from the lower edge of the desk.
  • For left-handed writers, the paper should be slanted to the right at about a 30-45-degree angle. This allows the writer to “push-rather-than-pull” his pencil across the page and to see where he is writing. This also helps him avoid smudging his work as he smoothly moves his arm across the page.
  • For right-handed writers, the paper should be slanted at about a 20-35-degree angle to the left.

 

The student’s helper hand should be placed on that side of the paper to stabilize and move it to facilitate a legible handwriting style. Each student will find his most comfortable paper slant as he begins to master his handwriting skills.

 

A tripod grasp is optimal.  But functional is more important than pretty!
A tripod grasp is optimal. But functional is more important than pretty!

 

3.  Pencil Grip

My Pencil Grip Motto is “functional is more important than pretty.” Although the tripod grasp is considered to be the optimal grasping pattern, many efficient handwriters have developed their own functional pencil grip. If a pencil grasp does not affect a student’s handwriting by making it illegible or causing him pain, then it is probably best to let sleeping dogs lie.

 

There are some simple rules that should be followed with any type of pencil grip.

  • The student’s hand should rest on the paper using the ring and little finger for support.
  • The fingers on the shaft of the pencil should provide stability using a comfortable pressure that does not cause hand or finger fatigue.
  • Smaller pencils are easier for students to learn and manage a pencil grip.

 

There are some unique rules for left- and right-handers to facilitate their handwriting success.

 

  • Left-handers should hold their pencils about 1 to 1 ½” from the point with the pencil top pointed toward the left elbow. This allows them to see what they are writing and helps to avoid smudging their work.
  • Right-handed writers can hold their pencils closer to the pencil tip if they can maintain flexible finger movements to guide their pencil strokes. If they find that their thumb, index, and long fingers become cramped, they should also use a higher position on the pencil shaft. Their pencil top should point toward their right shoulder.

 

Handwriting success depends upon a solid base of support. Posture, paper positioning, and pencil grip are three of the table legs that handwriting mastery stands on. Of course, the fourth leg is a structured, guided handwriting instruction program.

 

As always, I thank you for reading! Please be sure to comment, as I look forward to your feedback and learning from you!

 

See you soon,

 

Katherine

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/LKatherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.
 
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the authors of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.
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