10 Quick Tips to Improve Handwriting

Legible handwriting is an important skill even during this digital age.  Handwriting involves motor and cognitive skills that help with letter recognition for reading, memory retention and possibly even better grades.  The best way to improve handwriting skills is to PRACTICE.  When the child is practicing, try these 10 quick tips to help improve a child’s handwriting skills:

  1. Provide a model of appropriate handwritten letters.  Providing a visual example will help children write with proper letter formation.
  2. Check the child’s position.  The child should be seated with: a stable base of support at the feet, the hips, knees and ankles should be bent at 90 degrees and the desk should be 1-2” higher than bent elbows.
  3. Provide appropriate lined paper.  Children who are just learning how to write letters need larger lines and/or three lines on the paper.
  4. Check the writing utensil.  Smaller pencils (i.e. golf size pencils) encourage a better grasp.
  5. Provide verbal cues for letter formation.  Some children need verbal reminders how to form the letters or to start the letters at the top.
  6. Highlight lines.  If a child is having trouble writing on the lines, use a highlighter or colored pen to accentuate where the letters belong on the lines.
  7. Try an incline or slant board.  Sometimes if children write on a more upright surface, handwriting will improve.
  8. Stabilize the paper.  Encourage the child to stabilize paper with one hand while writing with the other hand keeping the paper in the same position rather than turning while writing.
  9. Check the pencil grasp.  Teach the child how to hold the pencil correctly from the start to avoid bad habits.  The Occupational Therapy Fine Motor Baselines digital download has research-based pencil grasp categories with picture descriptions and age norms.
  10. Be consistent.  When children are first learning handwriting skills use one instructional method, similar writing utensils and the same paper to avoid confusion.

What is your best quick tip to improve handwriting?

Handwriting Stations: includes the materials to create a handwriting station on a tri-fold or in a folder. The station includes proper letter formation for capital and lower case letters, correct posture, pencil grip, warm up exercises, letter reversals tips and self check sheet. In addition, there are 27 worksheets for the alphabet and number practice (Handwriting without Tears® style and Zaner-Bloser® style). This download is great for classroom use, therapy sessions or to send home with a student. FIND OUT MORE.

2 replies
  1. Sandy King
    Sandy King says:

    Great article, thanks.

    I think having understanding and patience is key, too.

    My own handwriting is terrible. When I was around 7/8 we wrote in class using pencils. Then after our handwriting class, the teacher would “reward” a couple of the students with a “real” pen.

    Me and this poor boy received our pens on the very last day of the semester!

    My handwriting hasn’t improved that much in the intervening years. Now I’m teaching my son to write, I keep this lesson in my mind. Having poor handwriting isn’t desirable, but at least with the proliferation of computers and typing these days it shouldn’t be the stigma it once was!

    Reply
    • yourtherapysource
      yourtherapysource says:

      Yes, yes and yes some more to patience – excellent point. Teaching handwriting (and teaching reading) take patience for sure! And, the assistive technology available today is amazing if handwriting is not your strength.

      Reply

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