THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDWRITING

THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDWRITING

There seems to be a major push towards teaching technology in our schools, to the detriment of handwriting tuition.

I think parents should be asked, if they are happy to have their young children taught keyboard skills, at the expense of specific lessons in correct pen grip, correct letter formation, and good handwriting?

Handwriting is a very important academic skill – part of our heritage. The loss of this skill is like the loss of a language.
The loss of handwriting skills seems to be a Western world problem. I think one would find that Eastern countries, have maintained comprehensive handwriting programmes.
Our young people are most likely going to compete with young people from many countries, when they enter the workforce. Wouldn’t we want them to have every possible advantage?

Everywhere I look today, I see our young people, when they ‘put pen to paper’ displaying an immature thumb wrapping or thumb tucking pen grip. This shows they have never been shown correct pen grip.
I think technology is absolutely wonderful (my goodness, how could I have access to the world of websites without it) however, it should not be at the expense of other practical skills, like handwriting.

A quote from Mahatma Ghandi:

“I saw that bad handwriting should be regarded as a sign of an imperfect education, I tried to improve mine, but it was too late. I could never repair the neglect of my youth. Let every young man and woman be warned by my example, and understand that good handwriting is a necessary part of education.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Once a young child has established an incorrect pen grip it is usually quite difficult, if not impossible, to change. In fact, one would need to “tread very carefully” to change the pen grip of an unwilling child, if it is going to upset other aspects of their education. Probably best to make the most of the pen grip they have established, encourage them, and maybe when they are more mature, they will change their handwriting habits.

The basic Tripod Grip needs to be established very early in a new entrant’s schooling- Year 1 or, Year 2 at the latest.

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HANDWRITING GUIDELINES FROM TKI-TE KETE IPURANGI

If parents are looking for guidance about the teaching of handwriting in New Zealand schools, there is information at the following website TKI-Te Kete Ipurangi.                            The bulletin, which is easy to scroll through, gives comprehensive instruction on correct pen grip, and incorrect pen grip….. Pages  17 and 18, letter formation, through to linked up or cursive handwriting. There is also a section showing copies of student’s handwriting ie. expected progress of students at various stages of their schooling.

“Teaching Handwriting” Ministry of Education- Te Tahuhu O Te Matauranga

http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/content/download/14379/84545/file/Teaching+Handwriting.pdf

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DIAGRAMS OF THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP AND ALSO INCORRECT PEN GRIPS.

 

DIAGRAMS OF THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP AND  ALSO  INCORRECT PEN GRIPS.

Pen/Pencil Grip is very important for our new entrant children to learn, if we expect all of them to produce legible handwriting, as they move through their school years. The correct pen/pencil grip enables students to produce handwriting at a speed necessary when the written work load increases in higher classes. The most satisfactory grip or hold is called the basic Tripod Grip. The mechanics of the basic Tripod Grip are not easy for young new entrant children to learn, and they need to have teachers who are proficient in this skill, and displays a strong confident basic Tripod Grip themselves.

 

Left-Right-Pen-Grips

Handwriting-Manuscript

 

 

Note-About-Failure

I am grateful to Keith Burridge and Joanne Landy for their permission to use diagrams from their excellent book about Handwriting skills:  “Fine Motor Skills & Handwriting Activities for Young Children.” Thank you Keith and Joanne.

I recommend this book to parents of young Pre-School and Primary school age children.

This book is available at: http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Books/Ready-to-Use-Fine-Motor-Skills-and-Handwriting-Activities-for-Young-Children-Joanne-M-Landy-Keith-R-Burridge/9780130139429

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HELPFUL HANDWRITING PROGRAMMES TO ASSIST YOUNG CHILDREN

HELPFUL HANDWRITING PROGRAMMES TO ASSIST YOUNG CHILDREN

There is a excellent programme called Handwriting Without Tears that operates in the US. They train handwriting therapists.  If you visit their website you will see they have excellent teaching aids that can be purchased.

Website: www.hwtears.com

If you view the following You Tube clip you will see HWT teacher- Diane showing a little boy the Tripod Grip – how to take hold of a crayon.

As you will see, learning pen grip does need some practise.

Also, practising handwriting little and often (about 15 minutes a day)using handwriting drills and letter formation, is usually sufficient.

Once children have been shown how, they need to be reminded by their teacher, “Are we all holding our pencils correctly?”  If some children are having difficulty, they will need more ‘one on one’ attention.

Obviously, the New Entrant teacher, needs to display a firm confident Basic Tripod pen grip, to be able teach handwriting correctly. Young children are likely to copy their teacher’s pen grip.

I would have to say,  back in  earlier years, 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s primary age children all ‘got it’ (the Basic Tripod grip) without too much drama, and I am sure today’s children are no different, they just need to be shown how to do it, and have correct pen grip reinforced  throughout their handwriting lessons.

 

 

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A MESSAGE TO STUDENTS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN TAUGHT THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP

A MESSAGE TO STUDENTS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN TAUGHT THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP.

I really admire your tenacity. You have quite possibly never been shown the mechanics of the basic Tripod Grip, but you have taken a pencil, or a Biro, and managed to hold and control it, with all manner of different grips!

In so doing, you have managed to put pen/pencil to paper,and produce written work.
It is very hard to change a pen grip, however, some people have (with help) achieved the more relaxed basic Tripod Grip.
The following website and You Tube clips by Nan Jay Bochowsky are very good.

www.bfhhandwriting.com

How to improve handwriting

Setting up your handwriting practice area

 Handwriting practices

Essential elements of handwriting

Fine motor movement of handwriting

Handwriting movement

How to correct conventional cursive

How to fix common handwriting problems

How to make your handwriting personal      The message from Nan Jay in this last video clip is worth pondering. Competition for employment today is intense, and I think students need to be taught everything possible, that will give them an advantage, as they move into the workforce.

Thank you Nan Jay for your permission to link to your Website 

    

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EXERCISES AND ACTIVITIES TO STRENGTHEN HAND MUSCLES

EXERCISES AND ACTIVITIES TO STRENGHTEN HAND MUSCLES

For a young five year old new entrant to learn the correct pen grip, and handwriting, it is a big advantage to have adequate finger and thumb strength.
There are many playful exercises that will improve muscle strength.
One of the first that springs to mind is colouring- in books. Children love colouring in, and it is very good for their hand/eye coordination ie. learning to keep within the lines, helps with coordination, and the movement of the coloured pencils, strengthens those little hand muscles.
Using craft scissors too, is an excellent skill for hand muscles.

There is a delightful website www.thetoymaker.com    It has some wonderful projects, both free, and also some books that can be purchased.

I have almost become addicted to printing out some of these items, cutting and pasting, and I can’t wait to get my granddaughter involved when she comes to stay!

I thought viewers might like to see the results.

Toy Maker Craft

I would  like to thank Marilyn Scott-Waters for the delightful paper toy projects she has created, and put online, and for her permission to link to her Website. Thank you Marilyn.

I have used KasKad copy board  225 Gsm (specification) and found my printer handled the thickness. Keep in mind printers do vary, and may have other paper thickness specifications.

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REAL HANDS ON LEARNING- MEMORIAPRESS- CHERYL LOWE

The following website contains an essay by Cheryl Lowe which I am sure viewers will find interesting to read. It is about how important the learning of  handwriting is to all academic subjects, and the presentation of the whole person.

CLICK TO VIEW: Real-Hands-On-Learning
Thank you Memoria Press for allowing me to link to your website.
 Thank you too, to Cheryl Lowe, for your very interesting essay.
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A YOU TUBE CLIP ABOUT HANDWRITING, NECESSARY SITTING POSTURE, AND THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP- BY OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST JOANNA BUTTFIELD

A YOU TUBE CLIP ABOUT HANDWRITING, NECESSARY SITTING POSTURE, AND THE BASIC TRIPOD GRIP- BY OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST JOANNA BUTTFIELD

This is an excellent lecture, and demonstration, by Joanna.

Joanna talks about the importance a child’s sitting posture, and then moves on to talk about how finger strength is necessary to attain a satisfactory outcome with Handwriting.
I would like to thank Joanna and the Otility organisation for their permission to link this Video Clip to my website.

A couple of observations about the following You Tube clip. Even with the sound button on high it is not that loud, to hear comfortably.   Also, I am unable to control the (revolving) adverts for other videos that are displayed at the conclusion of Joanna’s lecture, and not always related to the topic discussed. That aside, Joanna’s lecture is well worthwhile watching.

http://www.otplan.com/articles/Pencil-Grasp-Patterns.aspx

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THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDWRITING SKILLS…….. RELATING TO MATHMATICS

The Importance of Handwriting Skills…..relating to Mathmatics.

An excerpt from Cheryl Lowe’s essay Memoria Press: Students who are not taught the habits of neat, legible penmanship are handicapped in spelling and computation. Poor penmanship is a way to disquise misspelled words. Writing arithmetic problems neatly on a page so that all numbers line up and are legible is a prerequisite for getting the right answer. Would not an emphasis on quality written work increase the student’s ability to concentrate, focus, spell and compute?

The following static page is from a Mathmatics programme demonstration video www.mathsbuddy.co.nz/demo/

Pythagoras-Theorem

The explanation on the right hand side of the ‘static page’ above, shows that pen and paper are still very much part of the classroom tuition in all subjects, and still very much part of school exams.
To Patrick Murray of www.mathsbuddy.co.nz
Thank you Patrick for your permission to link to your excellent website.

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OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST-HEIDI TRINGALI

 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST- HEIDI TRINGALI- ABOUT HER WORK, AND HER OBSERVATION REGARDING THE IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT PENSKILLS

Heidi is an Occupational Therapist, and, in the course of her professional work, helps children with poor pen skills.
On the Home Page of her website, she explains the reason why handwriting is not at the forefront of education in some schools, and goes on to point out the ramifications of this situation.

Link to Heidi Tringali’s Website     –  Homepage. 

Heidi makes a very valid comment :
‘It is important for schools to convey that written expression and technology can co-exist, and share equal yet varied importance in a child’s successful academic experience.’

Also – www.charlotteoccupationaltherapy.com/index.php/company/

Thank you Heidi for your permission to link to your website.

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HOW PARENTS, AND GRANDPARENTS, CAN HELP

Ideally, a new entrant child would have some idea of the basic Tripod Grip before they start school. There are many different preschool learning situations, and, they do not necessarily have the type of educational structure to teach this important skill.

Also, as Heidi Tringali alluded to in her introduction, this lack of penmanship skills is now a second generation problem in many Western world countries.

However, Nana and Grandad, if you attended school prior to 1970s, you most likely will have a firm confident pen grasp.
Very rarely do I notice anyone over the age of 45-50 years with poor pen grip, and many of the older generation still have beautiful cursive handwriting.
There are many studies concluding that cursive handwriting will outdo print script in handwriting speed tests.
As Joanna Buttfield said in her video “when the pressure of work, requiring Handwriting comes on in the higher classes, that is when poor pen grip can fail.”
I urge parents, and Nana and Granddad (particularly Nana and Granddad, as quite often they have the time ) if you notice your New Entrant grandchildren  struggling with an immature pen grip, it would be a wonderful gift from you to show them, when they ask,”How do I do it?”

There is great little book “HOW TO HOLD A PENCIL.”  by Megan Hirsh

If you click on Megan’s website you can see one or two of the photographs.

Pencil-Front-Cov-website1

 

HOW TO HOLD A PENCIL

Megan’s Website:  www.meganhirsch.com

Also, if grandchildren do not live close, write to them in cursive script.Handwriting experts have noticed, children in Western countries are beginning to lose the ability to read cursive handwriting. I think this is a real shame- isn’t handwriting part of our Heritage?

We must keep it alive for our children, grand children, and future generations.

Thank you Megan for your permission to link to your website.
Megan’s book is also available at http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Books/How-to-Hold-Pencil-Megan-Hirsch/9780984132805

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GROWEL HANDWRITING SKILLS- A TEACHING ORGANISATION BASED IN INDIA

Growel Handwriting Skills- a teaching organisation based in India

Before we know about good handwriting, we need to remind ourselves why we write. We write in order  to:

•Remind ourselves of something we want to remember
•Tell another person what we know
•Let a person know what we want

“Make no mistake, if handwriting has a poor appearance, the writer is judged poorly by our culture. This won’t end tomorrow. Surface features will always attract far more attention than underlying structures. For a person who has poor handwriting, the road ahead is difficult. In spite of the high quality of his ideas and information, the writer will bear a lifelong burden. But such a fate is unnecessary…for those who know how writers develop their skill in handwriting.”

— Donald Graves, “A Fresh Look at Writing”

Handwriting is not an isolated activity; neither can it be seen solely as a motor activity (all about movement). It is part of language activity. Virginia Berninger refers to handwriting as ‘language by hand’, which is a useful reminder of its context and purpose.

Writing needs to be legible

•“Legible” means that our writing is easy to read.
•We need to be able to read what we write.
•Others need to be able to read what we write.

Further …

•A student’s inability to record information in a consistent and legible form can slow down their progress.
•This can lead to frustration and possibly unfriendliness with a system assessment is linked to the written exams.
•Handwriting difficulties can therefore weaken educational progress and interfere with learning.
•Handwriting fluency can affect completing written assignments, ability to take notes during lectures and frequency of writing
•A large amount of time in school is spent up in writing notes, assignment and copying from board. Lack of handwriting speed can lead to loss of motivation and evading of school work.
•Bad handwriting can lead teachers to misunderstand what is written and prompt them to depart with low marks in examinations.
•Handwriting speed and style is a factor in student achievement, regardless of ability.
•The use of fixed-time examinations is used in schools and colleges. Students with slow writing speed will not be able to complete the exams even if they know all the answers.
•Students achieving higher marks tend to write at a higher speed and better handwriting style than those who under achieved.
•The evidence from various studies suggested that handwriting quality and quantity are strongly associated with examination achievement.
•A student’s inability to record information in a consistent and legible form can slow down their progress.
•Bad Handwriting can lead to frustration and possibly unfriendliness with a system assessment is linked to the written exams.
•Handwriting difficulties can therefore weaken educational progress and interfere with learning.

Handwriting and Examination

•Handwriting style is a factor in student achievement, regardless of ability.
•The use of fixed-time examinations is used in schools and colleges. Students with slow writing speed will not be able to complete the exams even if they know all the answers.
•Students achieving higher marks tend to write better handwriting style than those who under achieved.
•The evidence from various studies suggested that handwriting quality and quantity are strongly associated with examination achievement.
Click here for more info on Handwriting and Examination

In daily life

•You will be able note down anything clearly and legibly. Example – a phone number while you are on a mobile phone.
•Write your letters and address on envelopes legibly and neatly.
•Doctors will be able to write their prescription legibly, ensuring safety to their patients.
•You will be able to convey the correct instruction to your subordinates preventing misinterpretation.
•Your boss will be able to decipher your reports correctly.

http://www.growelskills.com/

Mohanakannan
Founder Director
Growel Skills

Thank you Mohanakannan for your permission to link to your website.

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CURSIVE WRITING CASE: FOUR-YR-OLD BACK TO SCHOOL

Cursive writing case: Four-yr-old back to school

ExpressIndia News Service

Chandigarh, April 29

Ignorance about cursive writing forced the four-year-old out of his school but the Newsline impact has brought a ray of hope.
Deputy Commissioner Panchkula Rajendra Kataria has assured that a case will be registered against the school and the child will be given admission in some other reputed school.

“The District Child Welfare Council, Panchkula, will be looking after Nidhish’s case,” said Kataria, who is also the chairman of the District Child Welfare Council.

Nidhish Sarin was forced to withdraw from his school a few days ago because he did not know cursive writing.

The decision by the DC was welcomed by Nidhish’s family.

Nidhish’s father Parvesh Sarin said with a sigh of relief, “A huge burden has been removed from our shoulders as we were worried about Nidhish’s future. However, all this has affected his studies and we had no option but to wait for another year for him to resume his studies.”

At the same time the entire family was adamant that the government should take concrete action against the school which has no right to put the future of a child at stake.

Barely a week after he was admitted to Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15 in Panchkula, Nidhish, a student of UKG, was asked to withdraw from the school on the grounds that he did not know cursive writing.

The school authorities informed Nidhish’s parents over the phone on April 21 that they needed to withdraw their ward.

Since then Nidhish had not been attending the school. With the DC’s decision today there is some ray of hope for his parents.

What can one say about this news item, published in ExpressIndia 2008

Firstly, I feel sorry for the four year old boy and his parents, forced to withdraw from the school where his parents had enrolled him, because he did not have cursive writing skills. Hopefully he is thriving now, in a more inclusive school.

Also, one would have to wonder about the remainder of the children at the Preschool. I can only guess they were proficient in the early stages of cursive writing.

Does that not ‘speak volumes’ about how the Indian community value the basics of a good education with a particular emphasis on handwritten expression.

I feel sure also, that the educationalists in India recognise, that their young students also have to be proficient in computer skills.

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HANDWRITING-DONNA YOUNG……. Printable resources

Handwriting-Donna Young…….Printable Resources.

This is an excellent website to help Primary aged children with there handwriting. Donna Young has established some excellent programmes and I think the Animated letter formation programme is very useful.

 

I Love Home-Ed

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