Teaching children to button is easy and straightforward, but is a skill that is often overlooked.
Do your students have the motor skills they need to be ready to learn to print? Over many years of teaching children early drawing, pencil skills and handwriting, I have found that there is a particular foolproof order of pre-writing development. First: Children need to be able to imitate fine motor actions. Learning the song plays that are associated with singing is a fun way to learn motor imitation. 1. Imitating Gross and Fine Motor Actions Second: They need to be able to follow dot cues to form early lines and shapes. They learn to control the pencil so that they can stay within paths. 2. Starting at a Go-Dot 2. Staying Within a Path Third: They learn to look ahead to where they want the pencil to go to make consistent, recognizable shapes. They first learn this skill when they are looking at the shape they want to draw.
So what are the fine motor skills that give young children such a serious academic advantage?
What does research tell us about the impact of fine motor skills on early academics?
Do your students have the pre-writing, visual-motor, fine motor and executive functioning skills that they need?
Functional handwriting is a key to both learning and expressing one’s self. Automatic handwriting skills open doors for children, allowing them to take in, process, and recall new information, and to express themselves through written language. If you are a parent, teacher, or therapist and you tend to think of ‘handwriting instruction’ and ‘handwriting practice’ as one in the same, check out this post!
Use an enticing game to add power to shoulders, arms, and hands by adding a simple twist to this classic children’s activity.
As an occupational therapist, I get many referrals for children who have difficulty with handwriting speed & legibility. Teachers and parents often assume that the reason for a child having problems is that they have fine-motor difficulties or delays.
After you have identified and started to address the root issue interfering with pencil grasp, see Part 1 & 2, you can apply a variety of strategies to specifically facilitate and teach pencil grasp.
Hand strength and endurance is one-factor limiting sustained writing. As an occupational therapist, I am always looking for ways to improve kid’s hand strength! Since punching holes is so motivating for kids, I use punch cards as an engaging way to combine phonics and motor skills into a fun task for independent or partner work. Punching is so fun children will choose to do it during free choice or privilege time!