There are several factors like a writing tool, motor skills, body posture, healthy mindset and so on that determine a child’s way of writing. Comfortably holding a pen or pencil, choosing a proper technique and using the right stationery are a few tips that can help them improve their writing skill.
Just like reading or learning, writing too is an essential communication skill, especially in the field of education. To perform well in academics, students need to grasp the art of writing to pen or type their expressions well throughout their learning process. From a very early age, children are taught to join and draw letters so that they further produce legible and comprehensible handwriting. Although handwriting skills do not come naturally, proficiency can be achieved with regular practice. The more a child writes, the better he improves his handwriting as well as speed.
From incorrect posture, the wrong grip to inappropriate stationery, there can be several reasons contributing to a child’s slow and bad handwriting. Writing is a very important part of learning as well as a form of communication. So, if you want your child to improve his/her writing style, speed and accuracy, follow certain systematic steps that are not only effective but also fun and engaging.
Importance of Writing Speed in Children
Slow writing can be a big obstacle in your child’s road to academic success. Whether your child is appearing for an exam, doing their regular assignments or taking class notes, writing plays a vital role in their learning process. Children can easily get frustrated and lose their motivation when they fail to keep pace. Thus, to encourage your child to learn new things and do well in academics, consider monitoring their pace of writing from their initial years. Follow different techniques so that they can write letters correctly. It will not only improve your child’s writing speed but handwriting as well.
Improving the Writing Speed of Your Child
Writing speed, along with good handwriting, can be easily developed during the elementary years. Though encouraging children to write faster and tidier can be a little difficult, you must begin this process with plenty of patience and a positive mindset. Writing is a process and it can be honed with the right training and continuous practice. Proper guidance and regular practice can also help your child to acquire the skill of organisation of thoughts and ideas. This will also assist children to learn how to set achievable writing goals. With the improvement in writing speed and style, children can be confident and exhibit their expertise and knowledge with ease. This also encourages them to express their vibrant ideas in their piece of writing.
However, to achieve their writing goals, children first need to overcome the blockades. Improving handwriting, along with speed, can be quite challenging for little ones. Here parents and teachers can help them by introducing pattern-based writing techniques that encourage them to write in an organised manner. They can also make use of a timed writing technique to motivate children to write better and faster. Here are a few things that you can take help of to speed up and improve your little one’s writing.
- A pencil with a soft grip helps the child to write comfortably
- A paper or notebook to write on
- A notebook with a grid helps children to write in an organised way
- An alphabet chart gives children a visual impression of letters
- A watch helps children to practise the timed writing technique
- A pen or pencil with a rubber grip helps them in improving gross motor skills, grip and dexterity
- Children’s storybook or journals improves their knowledge base and encourage them to produce better-written output
- Tweezers to improve their grasp and gross motor skill
- A ball to improve their grip
- Small toys to write descriptions
Tips to Improve Children’s Writing
Though the world has turned digital, handwriting is still an important communication skill that every child must develop. Writing is one of the practices that helps a person to fare well in academics and their career. However, for good handwriting, the writing techniques should be honed from a very young age. The process might seem complex for a child and thus, they might struggle to pair writing speed with neatness. If your child is one of them, here are some tips and practices that can help them write quickly and neatly.
Read to Children
Regular reading to children is a great way to motivate them to write. Considered to be a stepping stone for better writing, reading strengthens your child’s writing skills by expanding their vocabulary. Read interesting stories and facts to your child. This will build their interest in learning new things and will motivate them to practice writing. Reading also shows children different usage of words and makes it easier for them to implement those words in their writing. So, if your child hesitates to write, start reading together with them. Children who love reading books grow up to become good writers.
Teach Letter Formation
Letter formation can be defined as an ability to write alphabets correctly. This practice not only helps your child improve their handwriting but also enables others to recognise their writing. Thus, if you are thinking about improving your child’s writing fluency, first consider teaching them letter formation. When a child writes slowly, it’s important to check if they can form letters correctly. To master letter formation, introduce to your child the correct way for form their letters. One strategy that we often use as Occupational Therapists is the Green and Red Dot Method. Green dot to indicate where to start forming the letter and red dot to indicate where to stop. Check out the video here: https://app.readykids.com.au/title/green-and-red-dots/
Such practices enable your child to write independently. Correct letter formation can help with increasing your speed as the child no longer needs to think about how to form the letter and as they move towards cursive handwriting.
Start with Right Techniques
To begin with, make your child hold the pencil or any other writing tool correctly. Though in most cases, little ones prefer crayons and sketch pens, make sure to encourage them to use a good pencil for writing. Check if your child is holding the pencil correctly. The use of the thumb, index and middle fingers make a good grasp, which is also known as tripod grasp. Also, while writing, ensure that your child is relaxing the grip. If they often make a strong imprint on the back page, it means that they apply pressure on the pencil. This also means that your child is holding the pencil with pressure. Note that this undue pressure can make the handwriting task very tiring. Remind them to use lesser pressure. If they continue to write with heavy pressure, then they may need some help from an Occupational Therapist.
Let the Child Warm-Up
Though writing can never be compared with running a marathon, it’s an exercise that makes use of our finger and hand muscles. While writing for a longer span, they get fatigued like other muscles. Thus, to make your child improve their writing speed, let them warm up their hand and finger muscles to avoid fatigue. Warm-up sessions before handwriting help your child avoid tiring, accuracy and speed issues. Ask them to stretch rubber bands with their fingers before practising handwriting. Stretching and making different shapes are some of the best warm-ups for your child’s fingers and hands. Here are some more examples: https://app.readykids.com.au/title/warm-up-exercises-for-handwriting/
Make Perfect Environment
We all know that a positive environment plays a crucial role in a child’s growth and development. Thus, if you are looking for an effective way to improve your child’s writing skills, make them feel happy and encourage them to try new things. For children, it’s common to make mistakes while writing. However, if they do so, never discourage them. Remember, handwriting is a skill that can only be honed with regular practice. In the process, if a child gets discouraged, they might lose interest in learning the skill. So, to make them write regularly, create a positive and fun atmosphere.
Most children write unreadable copies to cover their mistakes. Low self-confidence can push a child to do such activities. In such a scenario, without forcing them to improve their writing pattern or skill, try to identify their underlying problems. Once you put your finger on them, find a solution before encouraging them to write again. If you’re not sure what aspect of handwriting your child is having difficulty with, you can book an assessment with an Occupational Therapist to find out.
Also, remember that every child is different. Hence, some children might take a little longer to finish their writing tasks than others. Being their parents, deal with this issue with patience. Children often get distracted when they fail to get something right. As the handwriting-honing process requires patience, find some alternative way to keep your child interested.
Make the Process Fun
Make your child’s handwriting practice sessions fun with different games and activities. While you want your child to hone their writing skill and finish their tasks quickly and neatly, never create pressure for the same. Overdoing it might create a negative impact on your child and they might start to dislike such sessions. Introduce handwriting games and challenges to your child and let them enjoy the process. Such fun activities not only build child engagement but also provide them with great value. Handwriting games and activities are excellent in improving a child’s fine motor skills and fluency.
Challenge them to colour pictures as quickly as possible. Add bonus points if they avoid going over the edge of the figures. You can also read sentences and ask them to note them down with their eyes closed. Make use of everyday objects or their toys and ask them to write their names along with uses. To speed up their writing, consider challenging them to copy a paragraph from their book. On being able to successfully do this on time, praise or reward them. There are plenty of games and activities that you can incorporate in your child’s writing development process for effective results.
Utilise every moment as a teaching-learning moment. Praise them for their success and support them with their failure. Encouraging your child to not worry about failure as it is a great way to boost self-confidence, which is important to hone their writing skill. The above-mentioned tips are tested and proven, and thus can improve your child’s handwriting speed significantly. For extra help in improving your little one’s writing skills, do not hesitate to consult our Occupational Therapists.
ReadyKids also offers a platform of OT resources to help your child develop handwriting skills. If you want more activities to do with your child to help them with their handwriting, check out ReadyKids here.