October 17, 2013

Writing on the Wall

Practice @ Home: Writing on Vertical Surfaces
Getting into trouble isn't so bad if the punishment can improve your handwriting.

Stop thinking of the chalkboard as punishment! Use your child’s normal handwriting lessons and take it from the table to the wall. One trick of the trade for improving handwriting skills is practicing on a vertical surface. The vertical surface improves wrist stability, wrist extension and fine motor skills. You can use a blackboard, easel, or just a piece of paper taped to a smooth wall or door.
What to look for:

Elbow: The elbow should be bent and close to the writing surface. Often children will stand too far from the board and reach their arm almost straight out to write on the board. This will not encourage good habits so make sure they’re close like in the picture.

Wrist: The wrist is relatively straight from the forearm. Many children incorrectly hook their hand by bending it at a 90 degree angle from the wrist.

Fingers: Take a look at Bart Simpson using a “fist grip” with his piece of chalk. It’s a very common bad habit. When children are old enough, help them by encouraging the proper three-finger tripod grip whenever they are practicing.

Shoulder: Be mindful! The shoulder is holding the arm up during this type of practice and it can be tiring for a child. Don’t forget to take breaks.

Further Reading on Teaching With Vertical Surfaces:
Improving your Child’s Hand Skills Using Vertical Surfaces
Helping Hands: A fine motor and handwriting resource guide
Teacher Tips