On July 25, Splendora ISD elementary educators gathered to acquire novel techniques for teaching handwriting at a Handwriting Without Tears® workshop. The program used fun, engaging, and developmentally-appropriate instructional methods to teach this skill in just 15 minutes each day.
“We are eager to give our students every opportunity to succeed academically and are thrilled to provide our educators with the proper tools to teach such an important life skill as handwriting,” said Dr. Tami Greggerson, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.
In addition to leveraging techniques such as songs, body movements, and play dough to better remember letter formation and build fine motor skills, participants learned insights that help children learn faster, such as that all capital letters start at the top and are created using just four names long line, little line, big curve, and little curve.
Veering from the tradition of teaching letters in alphabetical order, the “Magic C Bunny Puppet” will teach letter formation in groups, with similarly written letters taught together. Many attribute this technique to eliminating letter reversals, the most common problem children encounter in learning handwriting.
Research studies show the impact of handwriting on the developing brain, including enhanced neural activity and impact on the areas of the brain related to thinking, language, and working memory. Teachers have indicated that difficulty with handwriting has a negative effect on quantity and quality of students’ writing, influences how long students take to complete written assignments, and ultimately results in lower grades on written assignments. In fact, a UCLA/Princeton University study found college students who took handwritten class notes recalled material better than those who typed them.
“If a child’s writing is painfully slow or illegible, it can adversely affect the child’s school performance and overall confidence,” shares occupational therapist Jan Z. Olsen, OTR, founder and creator, Handwriting Without Tears.
The workshop also included instruction on cursive, a faster, more efficient way for children to share their thoughts. The increased writing speed of cursive lessens the burden on working memory, allowing students to focus on content and, in some cases, score slightly higher on handwritten essay exams . Studies have specifically tied the connected letter formation of cursive to helping students develop cognitive abilities, which are the “brain-based skills” needed to carry out tasks.
For more information, visit www.LWTears.com.