The correct paper position and tilt enables your child to handwrite comfortably while being able to see what they are writing. It also allows the non-writing hand to move the paper up the table so that the writing hand elbow can stay in the same position. The aim is to have the paper move up the table, rather than the writing hand moving down and eventually off the table.
As a class teacher I noticed that by the time children were about 8 or 9 years old it was very difficult to encourage them to move the paper up the table as they wrote. They would very often move their writing hand down the table, keeping the paper still, struggling to write properly as their hand hung over the edge of the table. Bad habits start early and can be difficult to change; good paper position and paper movement training at an early age can make such a difference to a child’s handwriting ability.
So why is paper position and tilt often ignored when teaching handwriting?
Maybe it is because experts disagree on what is the most appropriate paper tilt for right and left-handed writers. As there is no clear guidance people become uncomfortable about giving advice and so brush over the value of angling the paper for handwriting.
The most appropriate paper tilt angle is generally suggested as anywhere between 20 to 45 degrees anti-clockwise for right-handed writers and 30 to 45 degrees clockwise for left-handed writers.
For more tips and advice on developing a good paper tilt angle checkout this section of our website: http://bit.ly/2QSssWQ
Just to let you all know, we have taken down the old Teach Handwriting website pages that were acting as redirects to the new Teach Handwriting website that went live at the end of October 2018. This may mean that you will have to add the new pages to your favourites again, sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The Website and all the resources that were available to you before are still the same. If you have any problems finding what you are looking for just contact us and we will be happy to help.
Pre-handwriting patterns are the first step in helping your child to learn how to form letters for handwriting. They help your child to learn the shapes and directional pushes and pulls required to form letters. All letters are a combination of these shapes and lines.
Young children can start to learn these patterns through their play, long before they are ready to pick up a pencil, moving toys back and forth across the floor or whirling them around in the air. To your child it is just play and fun, but you are doing something far more powerful and constructive by helping them to develop the motor memory patterns and directional movement skills they will need for handwriting.
Later, as their coordination and gross motor skills develop, they make more controlled and varied movement patterns in their play. Changing directions, speed and size are all prerequisite skills needed for learning pre-handwriting patterns.
These handwriting patterns do not need to be taught as worksheet activities (though they do help to perfect shape and pattern formation), drawing pictures and patterns in sand, paint and with other writing tools are all fun ways to practise.
Teaching the handwriting patterns in groups helps to further develop the specific movements (pushes and pulls) required to form them and help commit them to the motor memory. Your child can then recall these motor memories to support them as they begin to form letters.
Once the handwriting patterns have been mastered your child will have the confidence and skills base necessary to start forming letters, numbers and symbols.
Pre- handwriting Pattern Animations: http://bit.ly/1yibFhm
Handwriting with fluidity, speed, accuracy and over longer periods of time requires a complex range of whole body and hand strengths and skills. So it is not surprising that many children find handwriting challenging.
For a good handwriting style children need to develop their:
- Gross Motor Skills – so they can sit correctly for periods of time
- Fine Motor Skills – so that they can hold and control the pencil as well as move the paper up the table as they write.
- Motor Memory Skills – so they can recall how to form the letters.
- Visual Memory Skills – so they recall what a particular letter looks like.
- Spatial Awareness Skills– so they can place the letters correctly on the paper and in relation to one another.
- Eye Tracking Skills– scanning from left to right so that the letters are formed and placed correctly.
If a child is struggling with handwriting it is important to take a closer look at their physical abilities. Getting them to do more of the paper and pencil activities is not the answer if they do not have all the appropriate key physical strengths to support their handwriting development.
Our assessment is simple to complete and does not need any specialist equipment. The important elements are; your knowledge of your own child and your observations of them at play and while they are engaged in normal day to day task.
Link to our Assessment page: bit.ly/1Aibiie
A better understanding of your child’s key skills abilities enables you to focus more effectively, through targeted physical games and activities, to help them build and develop their skills.
Link to our Physical Games page: bit.ly/1yfbrHU
Handwriting is such an important skill as it engages the neurological pathways and working memory in a way that pressing a keyboard just doesn’t; so once mastered it helps to open up the doorways to other literacy skills such as phonics, reading, spelling and composition.