TM

Designed by Lisa Marnell, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

                    LEGIBLE WRITING . . . 

         Legible Handwriting . . . 

Designed by Lisa Marnell, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

TM

These five components of writing affect legibility.

Difficulty in two or more of these areas

makes handwriting a challenge.

 

Letter Formation:

     Can you remember learning to write? Let's pretend! Imagine writing unfamiliar letters from another language for the first time. A daunting task indeed! 

Try these tricks to make it easier for kids.

* Employ Different Learning Approaches: 

     Auditory - When teaching a letter, think up a simple verse to help a child remember how to form it. This is the trick we use with our Handwriting Help for Kids workbooks. For cursive "s" for example, say: "The skier rides up the hill, skis down the hill, then goes up to the lodge."     

     Kinesthetic - Help a child learn the way it feels to form a letter. Try drawing

     letters in sand, paint, and shaving cream. It provides a child with tactile

     feedback, kinesthetic (movement) input, and . . . it's FUN!

 

     Visual - Draw arrows beside letters to demonstrate to children to form letters

     correctly. Also, try writing letters in green and red. Remember, green means "go" for initial starting strokes and red can be used for later strokes.

* Make Writing Tasks Motivating:

     - The all time favorite for kids is writing letters in hot chocolate - then, when they're done, they lick their finger. Yum!

     - Look at a picture and label all the "S" words.

     - Try a word search and look for "S" words.

     - Try this variation of "Tic Tac Toe"; use letters you are working on instead of the usual "X" and "O". Children have fun with this and you can reinforce correct letter formation.

s

 

Letter Spacing:

     Omitting spaces between words is a common error which makes writing hard to read. 

     Try these ideas.

* After writing a word, have a child place his or her index finger of the non-dominant hand on the writing line to make a space. Start the next word to the right of the finger.

* Write sentences on graph paper, leaving one or two squares empty after each word.

* Write a long dash after each word to teach kids to make spaces.

Space

words well!

 

Letter Alignment:

     When letters float above the line or dip below the line, legibility is compromised. Like all skills that affect legibility, visual motor skills (ability to effectively coordinate visual guidance and written output) often play a key role. Activities such as dot to dots and mazes help. In addition, try these ideas. 

* With a brown marker, draw a line that represents the ground. Instruct the child to touch the ground with each letter and "plant the seeds so grass will grow." Ask him or her to go back and circle each letter correctly aligned on the line.

* To improve attention to "the ground". draw flowers that start in the soil

and grow up to the sky. Draw worms, ants, birds, and anything you think

of on the ground. As children have fun with this activity, remind them that

all objects MUST touch the ground.

 

Letter Size:

     Children may make letters too large, too small, or inconsistent in size. 

     Try these activities to help.

* Improve a child's awareness of letter size through play with a dry erase board or

chalkboard. Experiment making giant letters, tiny letters, or copying the size of the

letter the adult draws. 

* Review a writing sample the child completed and ask him or her to circle letters which are either too large or too small.

* Copy a sentence focusing on writing tiny letters. Copy the same sentence and make big letters.

 

Letter Slant:

     To improve letter slant in cursive writing, try these ideas.

* On the chalkboard, draw a diagonal line to serve as a guide for correct letter slant. Have children think of a word in a category, such as sports, and write it on the board. Rewrite as needed to achieve proper slant.   

* Practice writing letters using imagery: "Drive up the mountain and down the other side."

 

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