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Handwriting

Posted by popi (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 3, 07 at 18:06

My DS is 14 and has really messy handwriting.

I have spoken to him about this, saying that it is important to have legible handwriting etc, etc.

It is troubling in maths, because he can get answers wrong, because the teacher can't read them.

I have spoken to the teachers about this, but they dont have any ideas on how we can improve the situation.

I wonder if there could be something wrong with him ?

Has anyone else had this problem, and can you please help me to come up with some ideas on how I can encourage him to take more care ?

I think he is in a hurry when he does his work, which may be the key to it.

When I talk to him about it, he says he will try harder and does for a microsecond and then its back to the old ways.

What words or encouragement, can I use ?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Handwriting

There was an article recently in the paper about how terrible handwriting is these days. It's not taught in school at all. When I was in school, handwriting was not only taught, it was graded, but not any more. Most work is done on the computer these days, so handwriting is not considered an important skill.

My son, who in now 26 has terrible handwriting, too, as do all the men who work in my office. It's almost unreadable.

Maybe you can get a tutor to work with him, if he understands how important it is. Otherwise he needs to learn to print clearly, or he will continue to suffer the consequences.

Good luck.


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RE: Handwriting

Well you know my daughter is 9.For her age she writes extremely sloppy. I was doing some research online about ADD,and one of the symptoms is has trouble writing. My husband also has bad handwriting...and writes things like,"You was not here" LOL...

I go behind my daughter and erase her work if it is too sloppy and make her do it again.May be kinda hard to do that with a 14 year old though.


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RE: Handwriting

Thanks for your response Mom and Coolmama.

Its school holidays, for two weeks, here, so I think I am going to get tough, and just get him writing. Its going to be a struggle, I know.

I think the computer is part of the problem. All his assignments have to be done on the computer. Not writing,no drawing diagrams, pictures, headings, like we used to in the dark ages. All that pencil work gave us practice with our skill of writing. If the children dont do these things now, well I am not surprised that there is so much aweful writing.

I think it is really important, I have worked as an exam surpervisor, at the school, and I am horrified at the crappy writing !

In their final exams, here called the Higher School Cerificate, all the answers, essays etc, have to be done by the pen, so if you are not fast, legible and efficient, then it hampers you ability to do your best. IMHO!

So I am on the warpath now, lots of writing, these holidays, you will hear the screaming across the Pacific !

Popi


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RE: Handwriting

I wish he were younger, Popi, because then I would absolutely have the answer. But for any parents of younger children, I'd highly recommend the following program. (I have no financial interest in it.)

Handwriting Without Tears -- It's an amazing program that uses scientific learning principals to teach handwriting. Please forgive my description as it's been several years since we've used it -- but the results have been long-lasting and utterly amazing.

My 11-year old son has multiple mild disabilities, low IQ, and his fine motor skills consistently test in the bottom 2%. But after learing to write using this program, his printing tested well above average. Five years later, he is still regularly complimented by teachers on his beautiful writing, and I am asked time and time again how he learned to write so well. (His teachers are surprised because he struggles so much with everything else, so this strong area really stands out as an anomoly.)

At the very earliest steps, children use pre-formed curves and lines to build letters, thereby separating the 'shape and pattern recognition' from the motor-skills pieces. Then, once the child is able to recognize the shapes, short lines, long lines, big curves and little curves, they move into writing the letters using very specific teaching strategies. For example, when a child is writing the letter, there's a verbal story about how the letter is made to tap into the auditory learning channnel. Exercises have the child form each letter 3 times (chalk on slate, dry eraser, wet eraser) to build muscle-memory and repitition. The use of 5"x7" slates helps build the concept of each letter having a 'unit' of space. And the program has them use teeny tiny pieces of chalk and tiny sponge erasers to build pincer-grip and finger strength.

But enough raving... If you have a young child who is struggling to learn to write, Google 'Handwriting Without Tears' and see what other people have to say about it. It may be more effort than your child requires -- but if it will work so well for my child, it WILL work.


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RE: Handwriting

Son has this problem - I do attribute some of it to schools not emphasizing penmanship or cursive anymore and only caring about test scores. (but that's another whole thread to start up)

He has a disability called "dysgraphia". Google it, you will find out lots about it.

Son has a keyboard in school now to help him with longer writing projects. But he still has to write numbers to his math problems - like your son! The problem is not just with letter formation but with spacing between the letters. You may want to try alternative pencils and pens so he can write more comfortably. I finally found an extra soft lead pencil that he uses that he finds much more easy to use. Maybe your son can try mechanical pencils, bring him to an office supply store and let him pick out a variety to see what he likes.

I am planning on working on his handwriting this summer. We have been working on this for years now and he has gotten a little better but very slowly (he is 4th grade now). His teachers offer no constructive advice except getting him a classroom keyboard.

OP - perhaps you could get your son a classroom keyboard - talk to his school about it for sure to see what they can get to help him out! Or get him to see an occupational therapist. I tried to get one for my son, but to get the school district to pay for it, he also has to be diagnosed for ADD which he has been tested for and he is not. (thank goodess).

Although I should mention that DH has horrible handwriting also, and a few members of my family have also. So I am suspecting that this dysgraphia runs in both families. nd DH is very sensitive about my son being reprimanded for it, because he remembers how he was treated like he was retarded because of his bad handwriting. Although now he has an engineering degree.

Remember - hound his school about it, to help him out.

Good luck!


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RE: Handwriting

Do you think it is a case of him being able to write neatly and choosing not to or is it a real struggle for him to write neatly? How is his spelling? My son haa dysgraphia and writing and spelling are very difficult for him. He has a very good vocabulary and enjoys reading for school and pleasure. Dysgraphia is often overlooked, but it is a learning disability that can be easily tested for just as dyslexia. - Carol


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RE: Handwriting

Two comments--
Teachers in kindergarten and first grade find that students arrive at school already writing. They learn from parents, TV shows, siblings, etc. But the problem is that they have not learned correctly. Sooo the teachers choose not to use up extensive class time getting them to UNlearn in order to teach them properly.

Also want to say that the College Boards, the people who write, administer and score SAT tests are reporting their recent findings that poor penmanship is resulting in lower SAT and AP test scores.


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RE: Handwriting

Thanks so much for your responses Sweeby, Klimkm and Teaka, I have some knew strategies on how to approach this problem, now.

I will research dysgraphia, although my DS does not have problems with spelling or getting characters out of order.

I think I will look at getting him a good pen to write with.

I think it is just a speed thing, he needs to slow down and take more care.

Popi

His father does have untidy writing as well.

I will research Handwriting w/o tears, thanks for that idea, sounds very interesting.

I will follow up the school. I have mentioned this to the school on several occasions, and they are not help. When I think of the fees I pay, I now feel I should go in and see the counsellor and get something done. They are the professionals and its just not good enough to fob me off ! Its the last day of the term, today, so I shall make an appointment for next term.


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RE: Handwriting

My son is an excellent speller as well. Just has problems with formation of letters and spacing of letters and sentences running too long for the line,etc. Seems to be a spatial judgement thing. When he goes real slow it is readable but then he can't finish the timed math tests.

The biggest problem with the schools here are - there are so many kids that have huge problems (ADHD, aspergers, etc.), that problems like ours just get shoved aside. So it is kind of up to us to help them out.

good luck!


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RE: Handwriting

When you buy new pens & pencils consider buying a calligraphy medium or fine point pen. Kids like the look the pens give to their writing and they seem to pay closer attention to penmanship.
- Teaka


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RE: Handwriting

Never yet met a doctor with good handwriting. Lawyers I know have awful handwriting. People who have so much in their mind that they rush to get it on paper very often have awful handwriting. In this day, we rarely use hand writing to communicate, we use the computer so handwriting is of little importance. If his grammar is correct and his math answers correct, don't rag on him about handwriting. All it needs to be is legible, nothing more. Sloppy is fine as long as someone can tell what the letters are.
Linda C


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RE: Handwriting

I've run into the same issue a bit with my DS. It's not so much the neatness of the writing, but the size of what he writes--very small. It does hurt him most in math classes. He most often prints since the teachers don't require cursive. Even in first grade his teacher commented on it. We tried to work with him, but it was never really reinforced at school. He's a pretty smart kid, but I suspect it's just a bit of a glitch with him.


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RE: Handwriting

I had a little chat with my DS over the weekend, and he wasn't particularly responsive to the idea of doing extra writing.

However, because I am a painter he picked up a small brush and did lots of Japanese writing with some black paint. He thought that was brilliant, so now we have been to the shops and bought some nice fine-tipped pens, and some ink, and he has been sitting doing some lovely fine calligraphy.

Hopefully this is good practice for his writing, so I was quite pleased about it.

At least he is getting some practice with his fingers with the calligraphy.

You never know how the day is going to work out do you ? Here I was pondering for days, on ways to get him to do some daily writing practice during the school holidays and he has discovered an interest in calligraphy !

Hope this helps somebody else.

Popi


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RE: Handwriting

Cool idea, thanks!!


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RE: Handwriting

Handwriting is very important to us, especially DH. DD is 9 and is able to write neatly, but often writes sloppily in her haste.

DH will make her rewrite her homework, which she hates, and grumbles and moans about.

However, he does not have to do it very often, as the point is driven home effectively.

I have to grade her home math drills, and I will mark illegible answers wrong even if I know what it is supposed to be.

So far it is helping, so we'll see if she gets more conscientious on her own as time goes on and she matures.


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RE: Handwriting

My 9 year old used to have beautiful handwirting and then one day he woke up and decided to make everything illegible!

He almost always received perfect grades on his spelling tests (not sure where he gets it-LOL) but I noticed him a couple weeks ago getting stuff wrong. When I looked over his tests...they weren't normal spelling errors like the i and e transposed...but more like i's looking like l's and y's looking like u's.

At first, I thought it was that his pencils weren't sharp enough, but I'm really beginning to think that he's just bored with the subject and rushes through it so much so that you can't read his handwriting. I wonder if the words were harder if he would actually take the time to think and write them correctly. Hopefully his awful handwriting will disappear as quickly as it appeared.


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RE: Handwriting

Carla

Maybe your DS might have an eyesight problem, worth investigating, I guess.

I know with my son, in a class, like Maths, if they do all the exercises in the class, then they won't have homework to do. That is a real incentive to rush through the work, if ever I heard one ! So I think that could contribute to the messy work.

Perhaps your DS could be challenged more, with harder spelling words, perhaps you could have a go at home.

My DD, when she was in year 6, started to "dumb down", in that she went from being a very capable student to one that made mistakes. I discovered this was because her friends where calling her names like "brainey" and she wanted to be more like them (they where not as bright!!). This was a real eye-opener to me, as I was concerned that as she was going into high school with these girls, that she would not be trying to do her best.

I ended up sending her to a different school, where she made friends with all the brainy girls at school.

There is a lesson in that for others!

Popi


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RE: Handwriting

"Sloppy is fine as long as someone can tell what the letters are. "

Could you please tell my daughter's teacher that then? LOL...That woman deducts points for tiny mistakes like accidently making one letter a capital.(my daughter loves to write in caps)


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RE: Handwriting

popi,

He just got his eyes check at school and they are supposably fine although I'll keep an 'eye' on it. Thanks for the suggestion.

He does the same thing with math, and now that I recall, he was getting real sloppy with that too until they started to do four step word problems that required more thought and less writing. Even the other kids nicely make fun of him for finishing so fast. I think he thinks it's a race, but his grades are still good so not really sure how to handle. He's already going to a private and very good school, don't really think there's a better one around.

He just needs to have more control of himself and calm down a little when doing his work. Granted, I've tried to give him more and harder work, but he really doesn't show any interest in it and sees it almost like a punishment. I think his self-control level just needs to catch up with his intellectual level. Not sure when that will happen - maybe never!


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RE: Handwriting

My son is 11 and he has sloppy handwriting most of the time, if he slows down his writing gets better, his teacher will mark spelling words wrong if she cannot read them (even if I can, and I know they are spelled right) or if they are capped and not suppose to be or if they are not capped when needing to be. She even marks off a point if the word 'Spelling' at the top is not done the way she wants it on the tests. So needless to say his spelling grade is not too good at the moment. He has to write words 5x as a assignment once a week and I have to most generally make him redo it when looking over it the first time, the second one always looks like it was done by a whole different person, lol! Another problem I have been having is he also has a spelling file due once a week on Thursday, this is 3 sheets of colored paper folded over and stapled, she counts off for ANY word not legible on the entire assignment, like 200 pt.s possible, seen him miss up to 150 before. For one it is hard for him to stay neat when there is no lines to guide him, for another I can't just have him redo the whole thing as we have to use this paper, so lot's of erasing to the point where the paper is wore thin!
alot of this is rushing through the work more then anything, if he would just slow down I think he would be okay.


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RE: Handwriting

Micke: You need to have a sit down with the teacher and the principal and get him a computer keyboard and see if he qualifies to have an occupational therapist work with him. And get him whatever tools he needs to do it successfully, like paper with lines, proper pencils, etc. That's ridiculous... I hate teachers that won't work with their students problems.


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RE: Handwriting

I totally agree,my son also had horrible handwriting.He just rushed through his assignments like he had something else to do!i did alot of research on handwriting difficulties in children,but it wasn't until i advocated actively to have an occupational therapist work with him on his fine motor skills that i saw amazing improvements.The sloppiness has to do with how much pressure is being put on holding the pen and actually having to manupulate it easily.But again,he has really improved.Even though i have to remind him to "slow down" every now and then..i can definetely make out what he is writing now.

Good luck!


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RE: Handwriting

Follow up....

DH is going to sit with DS one night a week, for under an hour, helping him with his maths.

He will also work on getting him to set out his work in a neater fashion.

I, hopefully, think this will work well, as the message might get through, better, if its from Dad.

So...fingers crossed...


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RE: Handwriting

Bumping this up because my 14 YO 8th grader (boy) is getting assignments marked down for poor handwriting. AT LAST!!! Two teachers in a row who won't accept illegible writing. So many teachers have coddled him and/or not cared. I don't care how his penmanship looks after I get done paying for college. For the next five years, his teachers and SAT/ACT readers need to be able to read what he writes. We use the computer as much as possible, but there is just so much classwork (essay tests, etc.) that require written answers.

I'm thinking Occupational Therapist, but I'll listen to one and all. Any suggestions/ideas? How do I find an OT?


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