Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Handwriting Without Tears

So excited to receive this information from Laurie Nass, OTR/L and Curriculum Specialist for Handwriting Without Tears!!! This is the first half of the response she sent me, prompted by my question, "What do we do with students who have no interest in carrying over correct formation or attention to detail unless an adult sits next to them?" Stay tuned for the rest of her valuable information in a future post.

Thank you for your interesting question. Motivating students to write legibly is challenging, especially in the upper grade levels.

HWT program helps to make writing more fun through the music CDs and through its workbooks. Instruction should be only 10-15 minutes a day, emphasizing quality of work (through the Learn and Check) rather than quantity. Once poor habits are formed, such as writing from the bottom, it is difficult to change the letter formations.

Good posture is also encouraged through the proper height desks and chairs.

Next, for the student who still turns in illegible work “just to get it done,” you may want the teacher review the assignment. Is it too long in length? Can the student still show his knowledge using several words rather than in full sentences? Do the teachers still accept illegible work and thus lower their expectations. Some children can “sense” the teacher’s acceptance.

I have worked with many students in the middle and high school levels. Sometimes I have discovered that the older students could not even read back to me what they had written. I have found there are several common problems, usually in the following order.

1. Not enough spacing between words. –
2. Poor formation of letters-
in particular the closure of magic c letters – thus the a looks like u, the d looks like cl, the g looks like a y. the o looks like u.
diving letters- so that the r looks like v
3. Letter size – capitals and lowercase are the same size
4. Letter placement on the lines – descending letters not placed below the line.

To remediate these problems I would work on one problem at a time. Look at your student’s paper and determine what the most important issue is first.

Look for her suggestions about these different handwriting problems in a future post.


Lauren said...

Great suggestions!

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