Strategies for Achieving Fluent Handwriting
Fluent and legible handwriting is a valuable skill that every child should strive to achieve. To help children develop this skill, two essential components must be embedded in their handwriting: accuracy and speed. While accuracy ensures proper letter size and spacing, speed is the secret sauce that leads to automatic and fluent handwriting. Unfortunately, many handwriting resources and curriculums overlook the importance of speed. In this blog post, we will explore three strategies to improve children’s writing speed and help them achieve fluent and legible handwriting.
The Importance of Accuracy and Speed
To attain easy and fluent handwriting, accuracy and speed are two crucial components that must be addressed. Accuracy involves aspects such as letter size, spacing, and overall neatness. Speed, on the other hand, is the secret sauce that allows children to write automatically and fluently.
The importance of accuracy lies in the fact that legible handwriting is essential for academic success. When children have legible handwriting, they can confidently use their notes for studying, participate in class activities, and demonstrate their knowledge through written work. Additionally, legible handwriting allows teachers and parents to assess children’s progress accurately and provide appropriate feedback and guidance.
Strategy 1: Move Away from Fine Motor Skill Focus
While fine motor skills are essential for various tasks, focusing solely on improving fine motor skills will not directly enhance handwriting. It can take months or even years for fine motor skills to align with developmental age. Instead, it is crucial to dive into the specific steps required for legible handwriting, providing children with targeted guidance. Moving away from a fine motor skill focus means recognizing that other elements play a significant role in developing legible and fluent handwriting. Some of these elements include letter formation, letter sizing and spacing, proper grip and posture, overall writing technique, and speed.
Strategy 2: Stop Excessive Practice
Relying on workbooks and practice sheets alone is not an effective approach to improve handwriting. These resources often lack specific feedback, and children may excel within the workbook’s controlled environment but struggle when faced with real-life writing tasks. Additionally, rushing through workbooks can reinforce incorrect habits and hinder progress. Instead, it is important to focus on purposeful practice that emphasizes accuracy and speed.
Strategy 3: Move Beyond Preschool Letter Formation
For everyday writers, especially older children who have been writing for a while, revisiting preschool or kindergarten letter formation exercises is not the solution. While letter formation is important for beginners, it is essential to address the specific challenges faced by everyday writers. By targeting accuracy and speed, children can overcome their struggles and develop legible handwriting.
Improving children’s writing speed is a crucial aspect of achieving fluent and legible handwriting. By shifting the focus from fine motor skills to specific handwriting techniques, avoiding excessive practice, and moving beyond basic letter formation exercises, parents, teachers, and tutors can help children make significant progress. Remember, the combination of accuracy and speed is the key to unlocking fluent and automatic handwriting. With these strategies in mind, children will gain the skills necessary to use handwriting effectively in their academic and personal lives.