|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Good Penmanship

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: What are the ways to improve my second-grader's handwriting?

A: Practice is critical. Incorrect letter formation, inconsistent letter size, poor spacing between letters and words, and holding the pencil incorrectly are all components of poor penmanship.

This is a labor-intensive job but very worthwhile, and I commend your interest. I suggest asking your child's classroom teacher for a conference for this specific purpose. You can ask the teacher for a copy of the alphabet with arrows indicating the proper formation of each letter. It is important that you get this because there are a variety of programs and you need to know exactly what the school is teaching so that you are consistent and reinforcing what the teacher has taught. At the conference ask for a sample of the paper being used (size between lines makes a difference) and a demonstration of correct pencil grip.

Now you have your work cut out for you. It is essential for you to watch your child form each letter -- children are very good at making letters incorrectly that look close to being right. Only the incorrect letters need to be practiced.

Once you have verified that each letter is being formed correctly, move into practicing words. Rather than writing the same words your child works with in school, try to pick words that are more meaningful. Some things to try: dictate a short grocery list; write a thank you note or invitation; tap into your child's interests and write letters to request information about a place your child wants to visit; write a letter to the governors of several states asking if they have pets; make lists of jobs to be done; the names of all the men or women in the family -- anything the child would be interested in without making it seem rote.

This is an excellent subject to help with at home -- it can be done in short amounts of time, and gets parents and children working together. And it's easy to see the results.

More on: Expert Advice

After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

The Latest and Greatest Book for Kids
Search our interactive Book Finder for the top new books for kids of all ages, brought to you by the latest book in the I, Funny series, "I Totally Funniest."

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Wintertime Neighborhood Games
Who says you have to stay inside when the temperature drops? Snowy weather is a great excuse to round up your neighborhood for some outdoor winter fun and games.

2015 Family-Friendly Oscar Nominees
The Oscar nominations are in, and they include several family-friendly movies. See which flicks earned a nod for Best Animated Feature Film and other awards.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks