View Full Version : Handwriting: Beyond individual letters

01-29-2014, 01:11 PM
Hi everyone,
I have lots of questions right now! I've been working through a handwriting program with DS, and he's doing HWOT at a program he goes to. Thing is, he can write individual letters on sheets correctly, but as soon as he writes on his own, he reverts back to any old way. He doesn't respond well to drill, so I wondered what other ways there might be to help him with this. Perhaps doing handwriting sheets with words instead of letters?


01-29-2014, 01:39 PM
I would write the words yourself and have him copy it below. You should probably sit with him while he writes so that he doesn't get into the habit of writing the letters incorrectly.

01-29-2014, 07:17 PM
We worked years on handwriting with my son. What worked for us with that situation (and we STILL do it as he now learns cursive, finally), is that I take the handwriting paper and use a highlighter pen and write out a word (spelling word, vocab word, words that use the letters he need practice with - whatever works at any given time), and then leave space for him to write it on his own, beside or underneath. The highlighter word is for him to trace, first, to get the feel of it, before he writes it independently. Some days we did whole sheets f just tracing over highlighter words, because writing a word on his own was too hard. It is a bit of time for you to make them up, but they worked wonders here.

01-29-2014, 10:15 PM
Thanks, I'll do that. Is it my lack of knowledge, or do handwriting programs just focus on individual letters?

01-30-2014, 11:31 AM
HWT works on words as the child progresses through the grades. Not only words, but sizing (the words get smaller) and spacing - not just of letters in words, but between words, too. That was where my child struggled. For example: "The dog is brown." he would write like this: "Thed ogi s b ro wn."

And his letters and words were all different sizes. My child had a many, many handwriting challenges, but he's doing okay, now.

01-30-2014, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the info. I'll check when he finishes the program he's in right now and see what might be a good choice for progressing. Frankly, I hate handwriting. I was always nagged about it at school and never managed to satisfy my teachers.


01-30-2014, 01:06 PM
Something like Draw, Write, Now might be worth a try. It shows how to draw a picture and then gives a couple of sentences to copy. You could monitor and correct him while he does it.

01-30-2014, 01:19 PM
I agree with copying sentences or at least whole words.

However, I also think that it makes a lot of sense that when he writes on his own that it's a mess. And he may still for a long time. When you do handwriting, you're concentrating on it. When you write your own thing, you're concentrating on something else entirely. It's not until you have really fully mastered it that you form the letters correctly without extra effort. Just remember that you're asking him to walk and chew gum at the same time. Give it time.

01-30-2014, 03:00 PM
True. I must admit that it feels like the handwriting is a bit of a waste of time, but maybe it'll come together eventually...

01-30-2014, 04:22 PM
Don't give up! Just do it for five or ten minutes every day and you'll see progress. Quality is more important than quantity. The tricks for us--especially my lefty son who doesn't like to write--are daily practice, close attention to correct letter formation and spacing, and vigilance on my part to make sure they aren't falling into bad habits.

01-30-2014, 08:07 PM
I really aim for quality - I tell him to focus on doing a few really well (Charlotte Mason approach!). I wonder if it's not enough practice to ingrain it, though?

01-30-2014, 09:54 PM
He's only 6, right? Mine wasn't even able to hold a pencil at 6. It takes time. I agree with Addle, just be consistent with 5-10 minutes a day, of quality and then just give it time. And then compare his writing every 6 months or so, and you will see changes.

01-30-2014, 09:59 PM
That's a good idea, too. Actually, I looked back at the last time we did regular practice and I can definitely see an improvement. I suppose really what I wonder is whether the practice is worth anything as it doesn't seem to carry over. Maybe it's just normal development and the practice doesn't have any impact at all!