11 June 2006

Boys and handwriting

A friend of ours asked us a question about her son (8) and we thought it would be great to ask for your ideas. So many of you have a wealth of experience, your help would be greatly appreciated.

"My son is 8 and a leftie who detests coloring and writing, though he is an excellent reader. When asked why he hates them the answers were (coloring) "It's boring", and (writing) "It is messy." And as I think one helps the other I want him to improve his handwriting, which as he tries to hurry all the time, it is terrible to try to decipher.
I was wondering if you have any ideas to help him practice his penmanship over the summer months (June 13 until Aug 29)."

Our response:
Boys almost always hate writing and colouring in boring stuff. The key is to provide a reason for doing the work. Whilst Ariel and Clare will happily colour in anything and even practice writing, the boys need to have a reason.
James decided he wanted to put up signs on every door indicating the purpose of the room. He did a great job and practised hard until his writing was quite neat. Other than that he writes the minimum. Eric will write the minimum for his school work, but when it comes to creating a wargaming scenario or secret notes to his brothers - no worries!
In what is he interested? Our boys like soldiers and knights so we downloaded some great pictures of knights and stuff which they happily colour in. Does he have any friends he would like to play "spies" and exchange coded messages? Nothing ruins a coded message quicker than illegible writing.
We also get the children to do copy work. They have an interesting selection and copy it in hand writing into their book. We have used the bible, prayers or stories. But only in small doses - no longer than 15 minutes, perhaps a paragraph at a time. Writing with little hands can be quite a challenge.
The key is to make it a game and linked to something he enjoys. This should do two things. Make the summer break fun and memorable, and perhaps - perhaps - improve his hand control so that writing isn't such a drag.
Now - over to our experienced visitors. Any ideas?


Bretta said...

My advice would be that any type of game, craft, activity that works with fine motor skills (such as painting wargaming figures at the Bruggeman household) WILL help to improve their handwriting. My 11 year old has done lots of woodworking lately (carving & painting mostly) and I recently noticed a HUGE improvement in his handwriting skills...I mean really HUGE. I can only attribute it to the extra bits he is doing because his school work requirements haven't really changed. Hope that helps!

patternnuts said...

My Mother-In-Law has a good suggestion also: a Round Robin. Start the story, send it to the next person who adds to the story, and then sends in on (or back in this case).
Should prove interesting!

DavidofOz said...

What a good idea! Ariel likes the concept and may try it here too.