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.