11. Remediating Handwriting Difficulties

How important is it that they write nice straight letters? We are trying different tricks to try to get him to write somewhat evenly. But I’m wondering what I should be looking for in his writing skills. He’s almost 8 but his fine motor skills are more like a late 6 yr. old. I want to go with where he’s at. Otherwise he gets really frustrated when he has to respect “lines” on a page. For now, we’ve been cutting strips of paper and he had to write within the strip. He really likes it. It’s just a lot of work… then I stick it to another piece of paper. It helps him keep the size of the letter consistent and write in a somewhat straight line. 

Another good question. Proper handwriting is important. It is important that the letters be straight, and it should not be this hard. Given the right tools, even 5-year-old children can write straight letters. The fact that it is hard suggests that something is amiss. There are several areas to consider:

Does the student have the right tools? The simplest cause of the problem could be the tools the student is using. A student should have a graphite pencil with an eraser and lined paper. Beginning students and those who struggle should use oversized paper with a dotted midline made for students in public-school kindergarten and first grade. (See pages 102–104 in The Roadmap to Literacy.)

Note: Lined Main Lesson book pages with dotted midlines for 1st and 2nd /3rd graders can be purchased from Raand Co. Here is the order information:

PT-GRU11411-WD-WIDE    wide ruling for 1st grade level

PT-GRU1411-WD-MED        medium ruling for 2nd grade level

Price  $29.69 for Sheets  200shts/pkg (They are perforated for binding into a book and are lined on one side, blank on the other)

Does the student have remedial problems? If the student is using the correct tools and is still struggling, it is necessary to look at common remedial problems. They include vision issues, eye-hand coordination, difficulties with pencil grip (occupational therapy).  It would be useful to investigate each of these areas and get appropriate help if needed.\

For more information about handwriting, go to OT Mom Learning Activities, especially:

It is important to get this problem resolved ASAP because Waldorf students should be able to compose their own main lesson book entries by the end of second grade/beginning of third grade. If the student struggles with the act of writing, it will be harder and more frustrating for him/her. For an overview on handwriting, consult chapter 3.2 Handwriting in The Roadmap to Literacy.

About the Author Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl