Show # 30- Why Handwriting Matters
Why Handwriting Matters and What To Do To Help
The picture to the right might seem like a typical picture of a cute kid working at school. Having children who struggle with poor handwriting, I see a child who has a bad pencil grip, writing up near her shoulders-definitely not a recipe for legible handwriting.
Why should we care about handwriting? When I was in school, "penmanship" was formally taught, but little time is spent in today's classrooms on penmanship, although we are spending more and more time on writing. Weird, huh? We expect kids to have the mechanics of handwriting down, without giving them much instruction in it, despite the fact that the ease of the act of handwriting has a big impact on the actual composition process.
Kids who have a hard time physically writing, or who are constantly criticized for the legibility of their writing start to avoid writing, and write as little as possible when called upon to do so- they become the great literary minimalists. They use short, concrete sentences, which while fine in early elementary school, becomes more frowned upon as the years advance. Eventually, a child with handwriting issues begins to have serious problems in english and other subjects where alot of writing is required. Teachers ask them to redo work because they simply can't read what the child is trying to express, and the child feels punished in the process, not a way to encourage them to do more writing!
Sure, many kids begin to learn to type early on, but our classrooms and standardized testing still require an awful lot of writing- worksheets, spelling tests, standardized tests- all require a child to handwrite essays and more, and keyboards are simply not allowed unless a child has a special education plan in place that includes this as an accommodation. the simple truth is why can't avoid the handwriting issue when we look at improving a child's writing ability and ability to communicate and think through the written word.
In today's show, I interview Michelle Jones, a pediatric occupational therapist who sees alot of kids with handwriting issues. The handwriting is often the tip of the iceberg, a tip off of larger problems with fine motor coordination- and something that can easily be addressed through therapy and at home. If you have a child with less than perfect handwriting- this is the show for you!
Look for our page on handwriting helpers by clicking here
As always, we love to hear from our listeners! Please email us by clicking here, or call our voicemail line at (206) 666-2343, or leave comments on our blog by clicking here.