7 Sloppy Handwriting Solutions, Part 1

There are many components that lead to legible handwriting, which can be overwhelming for many children. As parents and professionals, we need to keep the end goal in mind. Are we there to make sure that every letter is written perfectly? Actually, our goal should be to make sure that they can express themselves in a written format efficiently and legibly enough that others can read it. Handwriting is an automatic skill that many of us take for granted. When you take notes do you think about every letter before you write it? You probably don’t even think about how to spell the word many times either. However, for our kids handwriting can be a labor intensive task that only causes frustration. It’s best to understand the components of handwriting so that we can address each issue rather than looking at their handwriting as a “whole” problem.

There are several popular handwriting problems that seem to be causing the most illegibility. The following is a sequence of steps and techniques that I typically recommend.

1. The first step to good handwriting is having a good understanding of what the letters look like. Kids need to VISUALIZE the letter in their mind and then be able to recreate it using their fine motor and visual skills. For example, when observing your student writing you may notice that they make a letter “y” for the letter “g” or perhaps they make the uppercase “F” for the lowercase “f.” In both cases the student may not have a good “memory” of what the actual letter looks like. It is best to practice these letters repetitively using multisensory techniques.

Turn the page below to learn how building the letters will improve spatial awareness…

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Kim Wiggins, OTR/L About Kim Wiggins, OTR/L

Kim Wiggins works as a full time OT in a school district, is a National Instructor for Summit Professional Education, and is the owner of listenWRITE shineBRIGHT. She runs an annual Summer Handwriting Camp and specializes in handwriting, sensory strategies, and technology in the classroom. Kim has a professional and personal perspective when working with children because she is also the adoptive parent of a 12 year old boy with special needs.