Amie Anci's Occupational Therapy Web Site
About the Teacher
Fine Motor Coordination and Visual-Motor Integration
Upper Body Strength and Endurance
Ocular Motor Skills
Messy Play Activities
More Messy Play Activities
Seating and Positioning
Shoe Tying Help
Quick Reference Charts for Teachers
Tracing and Drawing Worksheets
How do I print the worksheets at home?
Holiday Gift Ideas
Therapy Supply Companies
School Web Site
What are the pre-requisites for handwriting?
A child should:
Have an established hand dominance
Be able to grasp a pencil
Be able to reproduce simple shapes consisting of vertical lines, horizontal lines, curved lines, and diagonal lines
Sit properly (see "Seating and Positioning" section)
Be able to attend to the task
What is the proper pencil grasp and wrist position for writing?
The proper grasp is a dynamic tripod grasp pattern:
Right Handed Child Left Handed Child
The child should grasp the pencil using the index finger and thumb. The pencil rests on the middle finger and lays in the web space. The child's ring finger and pinky should be flexed and the ulnar side of the hand should rest on the table top when writing.
To help a child who wraps all his/her fingers around writing utensils, provide him/her with a small crayon or pencil (about 1-2 inches long) to use.
To help a
child who holds a pencil far away from the pencil point, wrap a rubber band around the bottom of the pencil (about one inch above where the paint begins) to provide a tactile and visual cue for correct finger placement.
To help a child keep his/her ring finger and pinky flexed when writing, require him/her to hold a small piece of cotton under these fingers when writing.
Consult with the school's occupational therapist regarding a pencil grip that would be appropriate for your child.
If a child does not rest his/her hand on the table top when writing, try using a slant board or a 3-4 inch binder for him/her to lean on.
Where should a child's non-dominant hand be placed?
A child should rest his/her non-dominant hand on the paper when writing.
If a child is physically unable to do this provide him/her with a clip board or tape the paper to the writing surface.
Provide verbal reminders during the activity for consistency ("put your helper hand on the paper").
Place a picture of a hand on the table to provide your child with a visual cue.
How can I help a child who writes too dark?
Require the student to use a mechanical pencil to write. He/she will learn to decrease the amount of pressure placed on the pencil to avoid breaking the lead.
Practice "ghost coloring" by requiring the child to color half of a page using dark strokes and half of a page using light strokes. Discuss the difference in feeling and prompt to student to attempt to use lighter stokes.
How can I help a child who writes too light?
Allow him/her to use a marker or pencils with softer lead.
Provide the student with a weighted pencil.
How can I help a child who has difficulty writing on lined paper?
Trace over the lines with a black marker to increase visibility.
If a child has difficulty using the margins correctly, highlight the left margin with a green marker and the right margin with a red marker.
Check with the student's teacher or occupational therapist regarding the correct paper to use when practicing handwriting at home (primary paper, Fundations paper, wide ruled paper, college ruled paper, ect.).
How can I help a child who does not leave spaces between words?
Teach the child to leave a "finger space" in between words. He/she can use their index finger of the non-dominant hand to leave a space after a word.
Make a "Space Man" using a popsicle stick. This can be placed after a word when writing.
Require the child to place a light dot after each word as a reminder to leave a space. The dots can be erased after the child is finished writing.
Have the child practice writing using graph paper. Each letter should be written in its own box and spaces should be represented by an empty box. This is also a great way of helping to improve the spatial organization of math problems.
What are some alternative ways to practice handwriting at home?
cream or Funny Foam to form letters while in the tub.
Form letters with clay, pipe cleaners, or Wikki Stix/Bendaroos.
Use art supplies such as finger paint, bingo markers, or glitter glue to create letters.
Practice tracing letters on your child's back and have him/her guess what letter you are writing. Then allow your child to do the same activity with you.
Use toys such as Legos, K'Nex, Coinstruction, or Snap Art to build the letters.
Last Modified: Monday, May. 03, 2010
© 2013 TeacherWeb, Inc.
Content on this site is the responsibility of the Subscriber. Additional information is available in the
TeacherWeb Terms & Conditions