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Monday, July 11, 2011

School Bell: Legible Handwriting?

One of the many school skills that tends to slip over the summer is handwriting.  Whether your child is at the printing stage or cursive [script] stage, finding ways to keep them using it during the summer is essential.  Many schools are reducing the time per week and the number of years of instruction that are given.  It is increasingly up to the student to take that instruction time and practice and improve on their own.

During the summer find any and every excuse to get your child writing or printing.  Here are a few ideas starting with very little writing and increasing for more skilled, older kiddos.

1. Have them make name cards for table places.

2. Have them make labels for objects in the room so they also learn to read and spell new words. [Ex: lamp, table, chair, desk, fan, door, window, etc.] If words are too hard, they can make a card with the starting letter for that object [Make a game of trying to find something in the house with each alphabet letter!]

3. Dictate [spelling aloud if needed] a short grocery list  to them before you head out.

4. Have them "help" you by writing a reminder for you on a sticky note.

3. Use a question/answer journal at least once a day... [ex: You write "What time do you want to go to bed tonight? or What would you like for supper sometime this week? or whatever.. and put the paper/journal on their bed.... Your child must read it, write their answer and leave the paper/journal on your bed when finished.

4. Allow them to work toward a special privilege by writing a postcard each day/week to a distant family member or friend. [Greeting, Closing, and 1-3 sentence content depending on age] Mail them!!

5. Do the same with longer letters for older kids.  Try to pick people who may answer as it will be more motivating if they get a response. [If you run out of relatives... politicians, especially state or national Senators and Congressmen, are fun options too.]

6. Have them keep a Summer of 2011 Journal.  Each day they are to write [or print] about their day.  Depending on their age you can adjust expectations... words, lists , sentences, paragraphs. You be the judge.

Last but not least... Remember that practice may not make perfect, but it does improve.  Don't hesitate to start with small, old-fashioned repetition work... I have one who is struggling with cursive. She can get first choice of where to sit at the dinner table each night that she has written her name in cursive 10 times that day.  It doesn't take her all that long, sometimes she spaces it out through the day, sometimes she does it all at once.  But she loves to get first dibs on seating... by doing this during a summer that otherwise she might not have to write her name in cursive even once.... she is willing and doing her name in cursive up to 70 times a week!

You know what motivates your child.  Change it up when needed.  But however small, do some!  Not only will they avoid losing as much ground over the summer, they may maintain their skill level, or maybe even make advances!

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