For some learning to read and write is a much harder battle than for others. This could be due to several factors, both external and internal. At Edublox we have seen students who struggle because of external issues such as living situations or more notable of late the COVID-19 pandemic that threw a spanner into every students’ educational journey. Internal factors may also be a contributor, such as those related to dyslexia and dysgraphia. It remains a fact that reading and writing are two of the most basic essential skills needed to succeed in the modern world.
The benefits of being literate transcend individuals, families, communities, and nations. Literacy should arguably be a right, as it is directly implicit to the right to education. This is why we decided to focus on the ‘right to write’ this month. We have put together a few exercises and tools that you can introduce at home to assist your child in those early steps into their educational career.
Fine motor skills
Just like you need to lay the foundations before you can build a house it is important to develop fine motor skills before moving on to letter formation. Try any of the following exercises to help the development of the essential skill:
- Crumbling a sheet of paper into a small ball using only one hand
- Using a spray bottle to water plants.
- Stringing pasta or cereal onto a string.
- Popping bubble wrap.
If fine motor skills are the foundation of a house, then letter formation is the walls. Once fine motor skills are in place, you can try the following exercises:
- Teach your child the correct way to grip a pencil. Check each time before your child starts writing so that they will get used to the feeling.
- Have your child draw a shape (line, square, rectangle, triangle, curve) on dotted paper without lifting their hand from the page. Encourage them to start drawing from top to bottom, rather than from bottom to top!
- Letter formation worksheets (see below) demonstrate how each letter should be formed.
- Inexpensive tools (such as the letter and shape boards below) can be bought at stores such as the Crazy Store. They are a great tool to master the feeling of holding a pencil and practising the formation of shapes or letters.
- Another tip is to try using shorter pencils as they allow for easier control.
Finally, the house needs a roof…Once letter formation has been established, we can move on to spacing whilst writing.
- When your child writes, have him practice starting to write against a margin. If their book does not have a margin, you can draw one in.
- When looking at spacing between words, have your child practice putting a finger between each word.
- A 3-line book can also help your child develop special awareness whilst writing. These books are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from most stationery stores.
- For spacing of numbers try and introduce the block maths workbooks.
Whilst your child is exploring the world of writing, make sure you praise each step. The goal while writing is not to achieve perfection but rather to see improvement.