Handwriting: What is normal, what is not
Having good writing is an important skill for young children.
- Handwriting is a basic tool that children use in the classroom to express their ideas, create stories and perform exams.
- The skills for handwriting, reading, and spelling reinforce each other. If your child is able to write the letters with ease and clarity, you can spend more time concentrating on your message and composing interesting sentences.
Below are some stages of writing development.
Is my son’s handwriting “normal”?
Kindergarten or kindergarten
The writing first appears as scribbles that are made in a large circular motion. As your child tries to write his name, he will begin to create shapes that resemble letters.
Preschool and pre-primary
Your child may like to draw and label objects using invented writing without vowels (the “bed” becomes “KMA”). He will write in capital letters – most of them well-formed – and begin to join the words to express more complex thoughts.
The fine motor skills are more solid and your child acquires better control when making the forms of the letters. Learn to appreciate the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters. Invented spelling remains a common trait. Writing becomes fun for the child as he gains confidence and “automaticity.”
Your child’s letter may become smaller and sharper. Your child is able to focus more on what he writes than on the mechanics of writing. The fact of writing a journal in the class allows you to practice enough to strengthen writing skills.
Your child will begin to learn to write in cursive. The speed of writing will slow down and the attention devoted to the formation of letters will increase. Some duties must be done with handwriting, which gives the child the practice to develop this new skill.
Poor handwriting and disabilities for learning
Children who continue to have problems with cursive writing may show signs of a learning disability called dysgraphia. Dysgraphia affects the child’s ability to write with a pen, pencil or crayon. It also affects other tasks that require the use of fine motor skills, such as the use of scissors or the buttoning of the shirt. Dysgraphia often coincides with other learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but not always.
Some common signs of dysgraphia are:
- A rare form of grasping the pencil and placing the body
- The illegible letter, letters of different sizes
- Words or incomplete sentences
- Inability to write for long periods
- Elusion of writing or drawing activities
- Difficulty organizing ideas on paper
If your child continues to have problems with cursive writing in the upper grades, check with the child’s teacher about the possibility of being assessed for special education services.