Children at the age of five are not all expected to be great writers from the start of school. Over the years I have found that many students enter first year (kindergarten) not knowing what letters are far less to even make a significant mark or representation on a page. Many others write marks that look like the target letters but a closer look reveals either incorrect formation, poor pencil grip or an incorrect writing posture.
What Does A "Good" Pencil Grip Look Like?
These are the four (4) pencil grasps that are ideal for functional writing. Note the relative positions of the index (1), middle finger (2), thumb (3) and the ring finger (4).
Position of Paper For Lefties
Left-handed learners should be taught to tilt their paper in a clockwise direction so that the bottom corner is a little to the left of the learner's midline up to 35 degrees. The greater the angle the less efficient the writing. The right hand should be used to steady the paper on the right above the writing.
Position of Paper For Righties
For the right-handed learner, the paper should be placed either level with the edge of the table or slanting slightly upwards at an angle of about 15 degrees. The upper left-hand corner of the paper should be to the left of the learner’s midline.
There are nine (9) marks that students should master before they are developmentally ready to begin handwriting instruction. They must be able to independently copy these lines which are pre-requisite strokes for alphabet writing.
1. The Vertical Line
2. The Horizontal Line
This includes different types of lines: zig zag, curves, waves, etc.
3. The Circle
4. The Cross
5. Down Left Diagonal
6. The Square
7. Down Right Diagonal
8. Oblique Cross
9. The Triangle
It is the belief of experts that if formal writing instruction is attempted before a learner is developmentally ready, frustration and the development of bad habits sets in. Ultimately, the whole idea of writing readiness is much more important for a child's self-esteem and academic performance.