From the archives...
The following discussion was originally posted on the (now discontinued) LOE Forum.
The nine-year old I am teaching has an awful time with his handwriting. It is difficult for him to keep letters like g, j, p, q, y in the right place. The letter p is always written as a capital. The proper spacing of letters and words is nonexistent. His cursive is very (stress very!) poor. I am summer schooling him 3 days a week for 1 1/2 hours a day, and I just don't feel that I have time to add handwriting to the list, but I think it would help something connect in his brain. Any ideas? Thanks!
Another Forum member commented:
Have you tried any assistive writing tools? I'm thinking things like a slant desk, weighted pencil grips - stuff like that depending on the underlying issues (motor control or awareness of his hands or what).
In my experience handwriting my take a while. I started LOE with a much older boy who had very poor handwriting. What has worked for me is teaching cursive - it takes a lot of the problems out of handwriting. It may take awhile for you to see the improvement but it will come. I would try and introduce letters by stoke and use the suggestions Denise has on the website. There is a video on the LOE YouTube channel about how to teach the Rhythm of Handwriting program that is very helpful.
I would also add that you even spending 15 minutes per day on handwriting, if you're helping him develop muscle memory, could make a significant difference - maybe 20 minutes/day for a week or so and then 10 minutes/day for a few weeks after that. I think that you're right that helping him master the letters on a kinesthetic level - developing a strong, directional muscle memory for how they are formed and becoming clearer on the spatial relationships between them - could be helpful for him in other areas like reading and spelling as well. And Angie is right that cursive can help with this.
Are you familiar with our Rhythm of Handwriting program? Not your only option, but I do think it would be a really helpful (and economical) approach if you do want to work on the handwriting because it is so multi-sensory and stroke-based. But whether you were to use our handwriting book or not, the video [the previous poster] mentioned would give a lot of ideas and helpful tips.
It would also be helpful for him to practice it a few minutes a day between times if his parents were on board with guiding him in this and he could have supervised, supported practice. That is because the goal is developing muscle memory, which needs frequent repetition.