Preparation for writing
As the school year has gotten back into full swing I have taken the time to really look back and think about what I want to do better when it comes to my classroom. The one aspect of the curriculum I felt that I needed to amp up was my handwriting materials. I helped my students become very successful in reading but I worried I had not practiced the hand writing enough. So this year I started really making and presenting materials that give my students the chance to both strengthen their hands for writing and to hold pencils and other writing utensils. As a teacher I have been taught about the progression of writing but I wanted to give you, the reader, a chance to understand what we do and why.
First, the child’s hand needs to get strong enough to write. In my classroom this is mainly done with practical life and art materials where the students work on their hand strength and dexterity. These lessons are also all set up to foster reading because they are performed in a left to right, top to bottom manner, which simulates printed material.
Once my students have the fine motor skills and strength to hold the pencil I introduce the metal inset to them. This material gives the student the chance to use pencils correctly while still being developmentally appropriate. The students have to trace the inset (again left to right) and color it, allowing them to figure out how hard to push on the pencil as well as how to control their hand so that it draws the desired outline.
Another work that I introduce to them (along with the introduction to letter sounds) consists of sand paper letters. This gives the child the chance to trace the letter, practicing proper formation as well as building muscle memory. This can later be transferred onto paper or a chalk board.
This is just a broad overview of how I introduce writing to my students and one you can practice with your child.