Strategy #1: Use the Wet/Dry/Try technique which is a part of the Handwriting Without Tears program. This requires the use of a chalkboard. The friction between the chalk and chalkboard provides feedback. You don’t get that with a smooth surface like a dry erase board. I use 5 out of the 6 steps of the Wet/Dry/Try (the 6th step includes kinesthetics that is too challenging for most of my kids).
Step 1: The adult writes a letter
Step 2: The child traces the letter (using a different color chalk)
Step 3: The child erases the letter with a wet sponge that’s approximately 1”x1”
Step 4: The child dries the letter with a crumbled piece of paper towel that’s approximately 1”x1”
Step 5: The child tries the letter independently
Strategy #2: Use a foot stool or small container. Your child’s hips, knees, and ankles should all be at approximately 90 degree angles. Your child’s feet should be resting on the floor or footstool and not dangling from the chair. Your child’s core and larger muscles should be supported so your child can focus on the smaller, intrinsic muscles of the hand.
Strategy #3: Use broken crayons or golf pencils. This is the most natural way to facilitate a tripod grasp with an open webspace. It’s difficult to use a palmer grasp on a shortened pencil or crayon. If this doesn’t work then you’ll have to try a variety of pencil grips.
Strategy #4: Use a 3-Ring Binder or Slant Board: This encourages some wrist extension that’s needed for a more mature grasp. If you have a toddler you will notice that they will hold a large marker with their index finger towards the paper (this is okay for a toddler). As they mature they will grasp it with increased wrist extension.
Strategy #5: Proprioception input to the hands before writing. I’m referring to deep pressure to the hands to increase body awareness or more specifically hand/finger awareness. Kids that apply too much or too little pressure on their writing utensil don’t have a good sense of body awareness. Use Play-Doh activities where they have to knead the dough and use molds that they have to press to make cutouts. Now if your child has an issue with their hands fatiguing quickly they should be introduced to keyboarding.
Strategy #6: Cursive writing is a good strategy for kids who have dyslexia. Third grade is the ideal grade to introduce cursive writing but I have introduced it to a first grader that had dyslexia. Cursive writing is a fluid movement, you don’t start and stop like you do with manuscript writing. So it’s very difficult to reverse letters.
And those are my 6 writing strategies. Try those that apply and observe the positive changes in your child’s writing skills.