Handwriting still not legible! Need advice please!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Birdie86, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    One of my kinder students is doing so poorly in the area of writing and a lot of it has to do with his handwriting. He knows all his letters and sounds but his handwriting is incredibly illegible and more often than not I can't read the letters or words. On top of that, his letters do not stay within the lines. This was a concern of his dad's coming into kinder, he had private help with it previously, and now dad is not happy that he hasn't improved. For the first few months of school we would sing a pencil grip song and the kids caught on quickly. However, he has not. I've been calling him up to my desk when he does his assignments to help him or I would go sit with his at his desk and help him. I've been doing this for a while now with no to little improvement. I printed out some word tracing papers and when he does those with me watching and observing he goes slow and focuses and does well, but on his own away from me it's another story. He also holds the pencil with 3 fingers - even though I've taught him otherwise, and his hand or fingers appears unstable when he writes.

    Any advice of what else I could do with him to help in this area? We have tried special pencils and grips. I think the parents are blaming me for his lack of improvement, but I've been trying hard with him
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    This page has some good ideas. When I worked with younger kids, I had a tray with salt that they used a dry paintbrush in to practice letters. They loved it. Maybe some of these more fun, tactile things would be good to try? I've also heard that using broken crayons can help with appropriate grip. The good thing is, he's still young, so there's plenty of time to fix this! Coming from a teacher of older kids, though, please don't give up! It's so much harder to get a ten year old to form letters correctly or hold a pencil the right way when they've been doing it wrong for years.
     
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  4. RainStorm

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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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  6. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Thanks! I will try these ideas as well as look into that paper. From the instruction stand point, however, is there anything else I should be doing with him to help with this? Again he won't change his grip yet he doesn't have steady control which I think it was is making his writing so bad. I sent home a paper I put together for parents about activities he can do at home for writing - similar to the salt/paintbrush activity. They say he's been doing the activity suggestions I sent. I'm at a loss though! Is this MY fault? I feel like I'm doing all I know to do or can think of at this point.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2016

    Talk to your OT, if you have one at your school. He may have a visual perceptual processing issue or something for which an OT could provide interventions... or insight and advice, at the least.
     
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  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    What kind of professional help has this child received previously? I think you mentioned it in the initial post. Has he received physical or occupational therapy to work on fine motor skills? You mention instability in his fingers. Was this a full term baby, or possibly a preemie? Preemies may display low tone that translates into poor hand coordination, great difficulty correctly forming letters and using a pencil properly. Just curious.
     
  9. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Apart from a private tutor he did not have help previously. Before school started he was tested for OT but did not qualify for services. I think they wanted his teacher (me) to work with him first since he's still young. He did go to private prek before too though, but nothing was done for him at that time. I do not know anything about if he was a full term baby or not. This is the only area that is a struggle for him right now. He is doing well in academics and behavior.
     
  10. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Maybe send home a recipe for like kool aid play doh to help build muscles in his hands. Seems to me there have been different threads on this. I think some said get golf pencils to try. I know when I subbed in K worked with my pre k cousin we would use highlighters to write & trace over. Also used a plastic protective sheet cover and let's say his name on paper in it written in highlighter, use a dry erase markers for him to trace...it erases off.
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Raised line paper can help.

    The student knows their letters - but do they know the proper way to form their letters?

    You say his hand/fingers appear unstable when writing - is it like this with similar tasks - or just when writing? A weighted pencil might be of use - you can make one to see if it works - take some hex nuts, then cover them with something, maybe glue them to a pencil.

    What if you give him some word tracing papers and have him complete it independently? Does he still have difficulty then?
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I use a highligher with my students also. Some can trace very well but can't form letters on their own. If the student can trace well then the issue is more with the visual processing.
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I would try some of those maze puzzles in free time to help with coordination.
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    My coordination is... let's just say atrocious.

    My pathfinding ability is rather good (compared to what they would expect) - just a bit slower than average.
     
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  15. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Is he not holding it correctly or is his grip to weak? For a weak grip give him a clothes pen to open and close while he his just sitting around. he can also do this at home. It worked wonders for my kids that had grip issues.
     
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  16. MissyB

    MissyB Rookie

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    I've done this as well with students with weak grip strength and seen significant improvement. My school also bought some "Handwriting Without Tears" workbooks and golf pencils and I used some of my classroom budget to buy colorful pencil grips for the class. I gave one to every student even if they had perfect grip so the ones who really needed them wouldn't feel singled out. If you are interested this is the pack I have. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CKGO1VG?keywords=pencil grip&qid=1454028494&ref_=sr_1_22&sr=8-22
    I use the extras to send some home with certain students and as rewards in the classroom since they all love the bright colors.
     
  17. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    At my school students can only see the OT if it's part of their IEP. Having said that, she's given me wonderful suggestions. She gave me putty with little beads in it, it wasn't silly putty but something thicker. The idea was to pull the beads out of the putty. Raised paper, which you can make with a dressmaker's rolly marker thingy. Using a clothespin to pick up small objects, especially out of sand. I always had students tap each finger to their thumb. We also sang Thumbkin. There's also apps that can be used.

    Have the parents talked to their child's doctor? Will insurance cover outside OT services?

    Just a couple of additional thoughts.
     
  18. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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  19. otterpop

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  20. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Yes... In the taller carpets & usually colors you write with finger & see the letter then erase or usually slide hand other way & make all the same color write again. Lol. You can really write on any for tactile though... Like salt try without salt or mess. Lol
     
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  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    The putty is called TheraPutty. Comes in different strengths.
     
  22. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Have him work on his fine motor skills through different games and activities.
    Pinterest will be your best friend :)
     

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