handwriting best practices debbie shatrowsky occupational therapist
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Handwriting: Best Practices Debbie Shatrowsky/Occupational Therapist. Ergonomics. 90° rule- hips, knees, ankles Trunk, neck and head vertically aligned Wrist in slight extension (neutral) Desktop 1” to 2” above elbow when seated

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  • 90° rule- hips, knees, ankles
  • Trunk, neck and head vertically aligned
  • Wrist in slight extension (neutral)
  • Desktop 1” to 2” above elbow when seated
  • Paper angled- right handed/right corner up, left handed/left corner up
looking out for lefties
Looking Out For Lefties
  • Preventing the “hook”
  • Left corner of paper elevated, okay for student to have an exaggerated slant
  • Left handed writers will sometimes pull into their hand which causes them to write from right to left, this is okay to allow
Left handed
  • Slant left corner up
  • Okay to have exaggerated slant
Right handed
  • slant right corner up
pencil grip
Pencil Grip

Developmental sequence

  • Palmer 1- 2 years of age
  • Digital pronate- 2 to 3 years of age
  • Transitional Grips
  • Static tripod- 3 ½ to 4 years of age
  • Dynamic or quadrupod - 4 ½ to 6 years of age
efficient writing grips
Efficient Writing Grips

Dynamic Tripod


Adapted Tripod

correcting grip
Correcting Grip

Twist N Write Pencil- Office Depot, Educate and Celebrate, Amazon

Handiwriter- therapy shoppe.com



Jumbo Big Grip

Claw Grip

Grips available at Educate and Celebrate or therapyshoppe.com

Slant board
  • To decrease wrist flexion
  • Visual difficulties
developmental sequence of prewriting
Developmental Sequence of Prewriting
  • Imitation-vertical, horizontal, circle
  • Copying

~ 2yr.10mo. vertical

~ 3 horizontal and circle

~ 4 to 4 yr. 11 mo. cross, diagonals,

and X

~ 5 yrs. 3 mo. triangle (Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration)

developmental approach to handwriting
Developmental Approach to Handwriting
  • Handwriting Without Tears®

L F E H I – Verticals and horizontals

U C O Q G S J D P B- lines and curves

R K A V M N W X Y Z- diagonals

Uses a sensory motor approach

promoting development of fine motor skills
Promoting Development of Fine-Motor Skills
  • Sensory motor approach
  • Whole arm to promote motor planning-air writing
  • Wet sponge
  • Strengthening- incorporate pinching activities: clothes pins, strawberry hullers for sorting small objects, cutting play-dough snakes, poker chip or bingo chip activities
  • Parents- encourage wheel barrel walking with their child (fingers facing forward)
promoting proper stroke number and letter formation
Promoting Proper Stroke, Number and Letter Formation
  • Model sound handwriting behaviors
  • Reading and writing follow the same basic patterns - top to bottom, left to right
  • Orally describe the pattern when introducing and practicing letter formation (big line, little line, big curve, little curve)
promoting proper formation
Promoting Proper Formation
  • Stress correct starting point and formation of letters i.e. large writing on chalkboard, wet-dry-try, etc.
  • Make sure the tool size is proportional to the hand size
  • Forget the dot-to-dot use whole strokes when practicing writing
wet dry try
Wet Dry Try

Adult writes letter

Student erases with wet sponge, dries, and then writes

Teach letter sequencing and letter sounds with this poker chip alphabet sequencing activity and Leap Frog Fridge Phonics
integrating handwriting and reading programs
Integrating Handwriting and Reading Programs

Option 1: Separate the handwriting and reading sequence (remind students when letters and sounds have been previously taught)

Option 2: Integrate the handwriting and reading sequence (when introducing letter formation also introduce the sound/s and when introducing letter sounds use direct instruction for learn letter formation)

Option 3: Follow the reading sequence when introducing letter names and formation

(Leanne Meisinger/Learning Specialist CCPS)

When teaching handwriting keep in mind the basic principles of UDL and the four major channels of learning:
  • Visual learnerslearn through seeing.
  • Auditorylearnersprefer to listen
  • Tactilelearners like to use their fine-motor skills when learning
  • Kinestheticlearners need to use their bodies in the learning process. They need to “do”. They are hands-on learners.
  • http://www.cast.org/udl/
  • Amazon.com
  • Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration 6th Ed.
  • Beyond Play- Products for Early Childhood and Special Needs (beyondplay.com)
  • ccpsatot.wikispaces.com
  • Educate and Celebrate (http://www.learning-experts.com)
  • Handwriting Without Tears (hwtears.com)
  • Lakeshore Learning Materials (lakeshorelearning.com)
  • Leap Frog Products
  • Office Depot
  • Meisinger, Leanne /Learning Specialist CCPS
  • Therapyshoppe.com
  • UDL Principles (http://www.cast.org/udl/)