I don’t think I could count the recommendations I’ve seen for how to first teach handwriting to children. Fortunately, though, the research is in—and there is a wrong and a right answer. We know a lot more now about how and when children’s hands develop,as well as how their brains best learn about crazy new concepts like using their own hand muscles to hold a pencil against a piece a paper to form a shape just right to express a letter that means an idea. Phew!
Here’s what we know.
- It’s best to wait until age 5 or 6 when your child can properly grip a pencil before starting formal handwriting practice. Before then, you can set yourself up for success with lots of pre-handwriting practice, coloring, and fine motor control activities!
- Lowercase should be done first. Not at the same time. FIRST. We’ve all been taught that uppercase is more “traditional” or that it’s somehow easier if uppercase and lowercase are grouped together. All the research has shown that this isn’t the case. When we write lowercase letters, we have far fewer pencil pick-ups, meaning it’s far less confusing for a little kiddo who’s trying to remember to do the steps in the right order and can get easily frazzled. Think about how many times you have to pick up your pencil for an uppercase ‘E’ versus lowercase ‘e.’ It’s tricky!Furthermore, when kids read a book (and eventually write sentences), the vast majority of letters ARE lowercase. They’re frankly more important to write and recognize earlier. Your kiddo will have more confidence with handwriting because they’ll have mastered 95% of what is necessary for writing first.
This Handwriting Practice Pack
This pack includes 70 lessons (70 pages) of handwriting practice. This is the first set in a series of packs, so it is perfect for kids with no prior handwriting experience or limited handwriting experience.
The pages pair similar letters and words that children typically have trouble differentiating, both in writing and in recognition. Repeated practice of writing these similar letters together on the same page will help them learn to notice the difference between them when the read and write. If your has already had some experience with handwriting but is still struggling with mixing up certain letters like b/d, g/q, r/n/m, n/h, c/e, etc., this pack can help them practice differentiating those commonly confused groups.
How to Use This Pack
Go through this pack at your child’s pace. Some children may do one sheet per day. Others may want to go more quickly or more slowly than that.
Regardless of the pace, each lesson (page) should be done more than once. So that you don’t lose your mind (and all your money) printing them out a bunch of times, just use a dry erase pocket and dry erase markers so your kiddo can practice as many times as they want. Once you feel like they’ve got it down, they can pull the page out and try it with a regular pen or pencil as a final “test” to get a feel for writing those letters with a different medium.
You can get these at the Dollar Store or a multi-pack on Amazon for even cheaper if you know you’ll be using them a lot (affiliate link).