Our handwriting is very personal, for some it is purely an art form and neatness while for others it needs to be a functional tool which allows them to put ideas to paper. Handwriting is our self-image and an expression of our personality, some call it ‘Language by Hand’.
Catherine Elsey, National Handwriting association committee member, shares her hints and tips for teaching children how to write in Creative Times.
‘’Handwriting is a complex task requiring co-ordination of muscles in the upper arm, wrist, hand and fingers plus a stable posture. It is essential to first check that small children are developmentally ready to tackle handwriting; an easy check is asking them to copy an oblique cross. It’s also important to ensure they have established hand dominance for writing.
The ‘set up’ to start writing is essential to make learning comfortable. The chair and table should b at the right height with feet flat on the floor and wrist and forearm on the table. The paper should be angled slightly down to the right for a left hander and up for a right hander, directly in front of the child.
Getting grip right at an early age is much easier than correcting later, so check that the pen is held in a tripod grip between the thumb and first two-fingers and that the pen is angled towards the shoulder. Handwriting can only be mastered properly when letter sizing, spacing and keeping to the writing line is automatic, typically at around 8 years old.
Handwriting should be a joy to learn and practice, not a painful, frustrating chore so ensuring the correct checks are done early greatly improves the legibility, speed and content of writing. Adaptive handwriting pens, pencils and grips can be used to help learning as well as writing slopes to encourage correct sitting posture. ‘’
We stock ranges of handwriting pens and pencils that have been designed to make writing easy and enjoyable:
Berol by Papermate has more than 40 years’ experience in school materials, with great range of handwriting, colouring and craft products. The Berol Handwriting range includes a Berol HB pencil, Berol handwriting pen and Berol cartridge pen.
Stabilo has developed a range of ergonomic products, Stabilo EASY range, for left and right hander’s, which consists of the following: Stabilo EASYergo pencils, Stabilo EASYoriginal rollerball pens, Stabilo EASYcolours and Stabilo EASYgraph pencils, Stabilo EASYgel rollerball pens and new addition is Stabilo EASYball pens.
Staedtler has a number of products developed in closed association with the teaching profession and designed specially to encouraged handwriting practice, such as the Staedtler 309 Handwriting pen, Staedtler 119 Triplus triangular learner pencils, Staedtler 121 Noris school pencils.
Faber-Castell has developed products that tailored to different stages of child development. Their Play & Learn range includes ergonomic handwriting pens & pencils for left and right hander’s, which consists of the following: Faber-Castell School Pencil, Faber-Castell School fountain and rollerball pens, Faber-Castell Grip zone pencils, etc.
PenAgain pens and pencils have a unique alternative to traditional pen designs and certainly looks different. It is primary focus on comfort and with an ergonomic design, just let your hand to relax.
More handwriting tips help and useful contacts are available via the National Handwriting Association website, www.nha-handwriting.org.uk/