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What Are the Best Tips for Teaching Children How to Write?

Holding a pen or pencil can be a challenge for young children.
Blackboards and similar tools can be used to teach children how to write.
Teachers need to consider the different learning styles among students when teaching writing.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Most children begin to learn to write at a very young age, so it is often up to kindergarten and first grade teachers in most cases to begin teaching children how to write. Techniques for approaching this challenge can be varied, and the teacher will find plenty of instructional aids and tools for teaching children how to write properly in those developmental years. The teacher should start by recognizing which hand is dominant in each student; one of the biggest challenges for the teacher is trying to teach a left-handed child how to write right-handed.

Pay attention to the children when they are at play: take note of how each student throws a ball, grabs a toy, handles a crayon, and so on. This may give the teacher an idea of which students are right-hand dominant and which ones are left-hand dominant. In the past, teaching children how to write meant teaching them to use their right hands only, but in modern times, being left-handed is more accepted and encouraged. Recognizing a left-handed child will save the teacher and the child a lot of frustration throughout the learning process.

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Gripping the pen or pencil can be a challenge for young children, so when teaching children how to write, a teacher may want to consider using grip aids. These rubber fittings slide over the pencil or pen, and they are contoured into the shape most appropriate for encouraging a proper grip on the writing instrument. These aids are inexpensive and effective for many students, and they will encourage more control over the pen or pencil, making the formation of letters much easier.

It will be important for the teacher to recognize the different learning styles of each student when designing lesson plans for teaching children how to write. Some students are visual learners and will respond well to visual aids; these aids may be as simple as the alphabet written out on the blackboard, or flash cards with the letters of the alphabet. Other students are auditory learners and they need to hear a concept explained a few times before it sinks in. Try to tailor lesson plans to accommodate as many different learning styles as possible, and do not be afraid to repeat information; repetition will help students remember the concepts and will ensure the concepts stay in the mind of the child throughout the lesson.

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irontoenail
Post 3

@MrsPramm - Getting any children to the point where they are comfortable enough to take risks seems to be the biggest hurdle I come across when teaching writing (or anything, really).

We did a bit of research on this at my school last year and I found it helped a lot to group the kids or pair them up with each other then ask them to get their buddy (or group) to check their work before the teacher saw it.

Before I had them do this, I would be called from student to student for the entire class and half of them would be waiting for my input because they didn't want to continue without reassurance.

After they started this peer-checking, they got the reassurance they needed from each other and didn't lean on the teacher so much, which was good for everyone. An added benefit was that, by helping each other, they increased in confidence because they felt like they were being considered an expert.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@pleonasm - It's so tough to teach them writing from scratch like that. I prefer working with older kids who already know the basics, because they know enough to understand what you're talking about when you give them writing prompts or give them feedback.

With the little ones I always felt like I couldn't quite get them to understand why we were doing something, but the older ones are usually quite happy to be creative with writing.

pleonasm
Post 1

When I was working as a teacher's assistant, we would have an activity where we got all the students to sit on the mat with an individual white board and practice writing their letters.

I would let them use a different color for each one, trying to match the colors with the letters (superhero movies were a big deal then, so, for example, we would write the letter H in green for The Hulk).

We'd sound out the letter and then draw it several times with the teachers walking around and instructing and encouraging the kids.

They actually enjoyed it and we got to the point where we would use it as an overflow activity for the children who finished something else first.

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