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How to help teach a child to write

help teach a child to write

Learning to write is a big challenge that does not just start at school. Different learning methods, different fonts and the challenge of fine motor skills. Our guide shows parents how to help teach a child to write.

Learning to write does not start in the first grade, but much earlier. And the process, from the first scribbles to a beautiful typeface that is automatically printed, is not as easy as we adults would imagine. To know this are two important building blocks when you help teach a child to write.

Help teach a child to write: make it play

Often kindergarten children are interested in the mysterious world of letters. To scribble their name, they have quickly taught themselves – many then continue to practice of their own accord. After a brief moment of pride, parents quickly ask themselves: is that good? Shall we promote the writing attempts of the little ones – or rather slow them down in their eagerness?

Important to know: promotion is not necessary, the children learn writing in elementary school. And then pedagogically correct and with enough time to practice. If your child wants to practice even before starting school, the following “rules” apply: In the initial stage, exact letters and the correct spelling are still unimportant. Often, you will not be able to decode the letter collection on your kindergartner’s paper. Never mind! What your child will like as a decoration for the children’s room is an initial poster.  By the way, the correct sounds are trained here.

Motorskill exercises for everyday life

Important from the beginning: good writing and painting motor skills with smooth, unrestrained movements. Those children who have already trained a bit before starting school will find learning to write much easier. Therefore, you should be training them with fun exercises. For this there are numerous booklets for all ages and tastes in the book trade . Also helpful: many different movements for the little hands. From kneading dough or clay to peeling carrots to brushing the breakfast sandwich — all this is good for the motor skills.

Help teach a child to write: the right pencils

Thick triangular, lead and colored pencils are best for the little hands . It is available with grip knobs, notches or slip-off protection. Which pens are best for your child, you just have to try. From the second grade makes the thin pen variant usually more sense. For pencils, mines are common in HB, B or 2B, and teachers often write on their material list which pens they prefer. If you have trouble holding a pen: There are essays in the stationery trade that support the right attitude. 
If you realize that your child is having bigger pen lift problems, contact the teacher. When in doubt, a few hours of occupational therapy and targeted practice at home can do little miracles here.

Which writing method makes the most sense?

Book-based instruction 

With the help of a book, the alphabet is developed letter by letter. These letters then gradually are put together by the students. It starts with simple words that are written as they are spoken: table, dog, path. Spelling errors are corrected in this method from the beginning.

Free writing, or reading by writing 

Beginners of writing search for the letters in an illustrated writing table, and ‘sound out’ first words and sentences together. The secret of the successful work with the initial table is: The children learn to write down and if they make mistakes: no matter! This promotes the enthusiasm for writing – and the little ones are proud when they put their own little stories on paper.

help teach a child to write
The initial sound table is a table of letters and pictures. Next to each letter, or sound is the matching picture to find. 

From the second grade onwards, however, the challenge for the teacher is: Gradually, more rigorously corrected, certain learning words must be practiced. And this is when you have to really focus on correct spelling if you have used the ‘sound table’ method.

The good mix makes it!

Studies show that the “read by writing” method leads to a better expression and livelier texts – but also to more mistakes. Which is also due to the fact that less time is left in the elementary school for spelling training than it was a few years ago. In favor of English and more project work, the weighting of the learning content has shifted here. The systems that are taught vary from state to state. Likewise, they differ from school to school, sometimes from teacher to teacher. The majority of elementary schools now use a hybrid of the different methods. Most work with a startup table. And the teachers use special exercise books to teach writing in as many ways as possible.

From the Latin source to the basic font

Surveys show that more and more children have problems with writing. The one hand hurts quickly, the other write slowly and not fluently. At secondary schools, teachers lament the illegible handwriting of their students. The countries react differently to this (international) problem: In some countries, children no longer learn handwriting, instead they practice typing directly on the computer alongside the printed material. 

But if you write down information with your hand, the writing can be remembered much easier afterwards. There is much discussion about the method of leanring to writing learning – not least about spelling. 

A few decades ago, the script was taught as a first introduction to writing, then the printed letters as a second phase. Then there was a method reversal: first the printed, then the cursive. Currently, many educators advocate for the “basic script” as a kind of linked/printed font.

Fundamental advocates argue that it is unnecessarily difficult to learn two scripts. One (the basic script) is sufficient, and out of this the personal handwriting would automatically develop. Background font opponents refer to a study from Canada, which has shown that the learning increase in the spelling with a keyboard are greater than in printed or mixed form of keyboard and handwriting. Another argument: many children are overwhelmed by the creative freedom to think for themselves how to connect which letters. Legitimate writing at a good pace becomes a problem. Fact: Secured scientific knowledge about which method is the best, does not exist so far. Tip for all parents: Make sure that your children write as fluently and with automated movements.

Learn to Write = Practice Writing

No matter what type of text is taught in the schools: it is important to practice, practice and practice again. Hand movements, words, phrases, texts — a proper script can only happen if it becomes familiar — almost automatic — and brought to paper with the right momentum.

How to teach a child to read easily

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