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Teaching Handwriting At the Primary and Upper Elementary Grade Levels

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Erica Kocher

on 26 November 2012

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Transcript of Teaching Handwriting At the Primary and Upper Elementary Grade Levels

at the Primary and Upper Elementary Grade Levels Teaching Handwriting Introduction to Handwriting Instruction Many schools today are opting out of teaching handwriting to their students & some schools only teach how to print and not cursive handwriting.

For schools that are still teaching handwriting skills, there is much debate on what form of handwriting they should teach (print vs. manuscript vs. cursive).

There are studies that have founded that teaching a certain print style does not make a difference.

The importance is finding a handwriting style and program that works best for your students. Components for Primary Elementary
Handwriting Instruction By third grade, most students transition from learning print to learning Cursive writing. This instruction often continues up to the fifth grade. Components for Upper Elementary
Handwriting Instruction Techniques to use when teaching handwriting: Barbe, W. B. (1984). Zaner-Bloser Handwriting: basic skills and application. Columbus, Ohio: Zaner-Bloser.

Olsen. J. Z., & Knapton, E. F. (2008). Handwriting Without Tears. Cabin John, Md: Handwriting Without Tears.

Stone, C. (n.d.), Strategies to Develop and Remediate Students' Written Work. Handwriting Strategies. Retrieved November 23, 2012 from http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/exed/ExEdHCPS/OTPT/HandwritingStrategies.pdf by: Erica Kocher Three Components to Handwriting: Correct Letter Formation
Uniform Letter Size
Uniform Slant These components are universal no matter what handwriting program you chose to use. "Handwriting is the vehicle carrying information on its way to a destination. If it is illegible, the journey will not be completed. Handwriting, like skin, shows the outside of a person. But beneath the skin beats the living organism, the life's blood, the ideas, the information...for a person who has poor handwriting, the road ahead is difficult. In spite of the high quality of ideas and information, the writer will bear a life-long burden...when handwriting flows, the writer has a better access to his own thoughts and information.

- Dr. Donald Groves, Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshire. Letters are made up of lines. The appropriate lines, when joined together, form each distinct letter. Lack of understanding of the concepts used to describe the formation of each letter affects a student's ability to recall and reproduce each letter's distinctive features.

Proper placement of each letter on a line is yet another feature that affects legibility. Some lower case letters are medial letters, using up about half of traditionally-lined paper (a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z).

Descending letters have an extension below the line (g, j, p, q, y).

The remaining letters are ascending letters. They extend above the medial position to the top of the space between the lines (b, d, f, h, k, l, t).

Teaching handwriting to primary level students, depends on the style of print that you are teaching. The two main styles are Manuscript and D'Nealian-Print (or Italic Print). Manuscript is the most often thought of style when we think of printing. It is based on vertical lines and curves. D'Nealian-Print is a form of print that was believed to help students transition easier into cursive handwriting because its formation is made with slanted lines. Vocabulary Important to Teaching Handwriting: Vertical lines - Lines that go straight up and down
Horizontal lines - Lines that go from left to right
Diagonal lines - When the line is slightly slanted
Slant - When letters slope to the right, as in D'Nealian or Cursive
Capline - An imaginary line resting over the tops of uppercase letters
Baseline - An imaginary line over which the letters lay
Meanline - An imaginary line resting over the tops of most lowercase letters
Ascender - A portion of a lowercase letter that extends over the meanline
Descender (or down stroke) - a portion of a lowercase letter that extends
below the baseline
Top - bottom
Long - short
Left - right
Above - below
Open - closed - hooked
Horizontal - diagonal - vertical
Basic concept skills that help in primary handwriting instruction: Proper terminology reduces a great deal of confusion in a student's understanding. Useful References for
a Classroom Teacher: In the Cursive writing alphabet, letters are connected to form words; letters are slanted, each starting from the guideline or baseline. There are very few reversible letters. Cursive writing gives a rhythmic flow. It is more complex for beginners but, paradoxically, cursive writing has advantages of print for students with dysgraphic. General tips on correct letter formation: Letters finishing at the top join horizontally.
Letters finishing at the bottom join diagonally.
All lowercase letters start at the baseline. Manuscript print(on left)


D'Nealian print (on right) http://www.mcps.org/Language_Arts_Files/Zaner-Bloser%20Cursive%20pdf.pdf Great resource for stroke instructions: Age appropriate activities that teach and practice handwriting: Visual techniques:
Write big letters on the board showing the correct letter formation
Provide students with worksheets with arrows beside the letters showing the correct direction.
Auditory techniques:
Give students oral instructions when teaching a letter
Try giving directions that include concepts, such as: up and down, left and right, top to bottom.
Associate shapes of letters with objects (ex. "o" looks like a donut or "s" looks like a snake)
Kinesthetic techniques:
Provide students with tactile feedback by giving the letters that they can touch and feel. 1. Write imaginary letters in the air
2. Make the shapes of letters with their bodies
3. Write letters in sand, shaving cream, salt, clay, etc.
4. Paint letters with their fingers
5. Play with Legos, magnetic or plastic letters
6. Trace big letters which you have previously written on a large piece of paper
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