Many children struggle with writing because they do not automatically recall the muscle movements and motor planning skills involved in forming strokes (curves, loops, counterclockwise motion). They don’t have a clear mental picture of how each letter looks so that they can reproduce it from memory. Here are strategies for teaching handwriting and improving legibility:
> When teaching letters, group them by similarity of formation — l/t/i; a/c/d; v/w.
> Have children trace some letters and then write a few on their own. Afterward, have them circle their best ones.
> Use dots, numbered arrows, highlighters, and other means to provide visual cues.
> If a child struggles to hold and manipulate a pencil, there are a variety of pencil grips that can make writing easier: triangular plastic, molded clay, and soft foam cushion that the pencil slides through.
> Provide students sufficient time to write, in order to avoid time pressures.
> For some students it is easier to write on narrow-ruled paper (shorter line height) rather than on paper with wider-ruled lines.
> Provide a strip or chart of alphabet letters on the student’s desk for reference.
Adapted from The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children & Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition (2015, published by Jossey-Bass), by SANDRA F. RIEF, M.A.