Parent/Teacher Newsletter Helping Hands - Printing and Writing

Please distribute to all parents and teachers
Parent/Teacher Newsletter
Helping Hands - Printing and Writing
Created by: SHIP Occupational Therapists
SHIP Occupational Therapists give ideas to improve
the fit between a student and the tasks they do at
home and school. A good match can increase a
child’s belief in their abilities. This helps them have
success on tasks they feel are important. In this
month’s newsletter, we review strategies for printing
and writing.
An efficient pencil grasp helps improve pencil
Consider teaching the letters in groups instead of
alphabetical order. Try groups of letters that share
the same formation pattern. This makes it is easier
for the child to gain a natural feel for the
Demonstrate the letter formation on a vertical
surface such as a chalk board. Children can
better understand directions such as up and down
on a vertical surface. Talk about how to form the
letter as you make it (i.e. start at the top).
Start with big arm movements to form large letters
in the air. Try other fun activities, such as writing
with a finger in sand, paint or pudding.
Practice forming the letters with eyes open and
closed. Forming a letter with eyes closed helps
strengthen the motor memory.
Focus on making sure that the letters are formed
consistently. Use the same pattern and word
description at home and school.
Tips for Teaching, Printing and Writing
Posture: Proper posture provides a stable base for
Desk height about
2” above elbow.
Feet flat on floor.
Sit to the back of
the chair.
Prior to the writing lesson, try a few easy ‘warmups’ to prepare the body. Jumping jacks, chair
push-ups, stretching arms up, push palms
Encourage use of the helper hand (non-printing
hand) to hold the paper.
Is Your Child Ready for Cursive Writing?
Cursive writing is typically taught in the third
grade. At this point, children have better eye-hand
coordination and longer attention spans.
The child should have an understanding of spatial
concepts (left, right, top and bottom).
For more information contact
the therapist for your school.
Allied Health - Edmonton Zone
Starting letters at the top, drop the ball down. It
bounces straight up; now toss the ball over.
Benefits of Cursive Writing
9 Cursive uses a continuous pattern of movement,
instead of the “stops and starts” in printing.
Goofy Letters: e, u, f, o, s
Letters don’t fit a group and formations are memorized
Example of Letter Groupings for
9 Cursive has more obvious spacing between words.
9 Cursive is a new skill and can appear more
“grown-up”. Children often aspire to the new task.
c, a, d, g, q
Letters start at the writing line, climb up the clock to
1 o’clock and retrace down to 5 o’clock.
9 There is reduced use of letter reversals.
Kite Strings:
i, u, w, t, j, p, r, s, o
Letters are formed by writing up and back down on
a kite string.
Some children may have difficulty recognizing the
Children may have a lot of difficulty learning this
new visual-motor task. If printing appears to be the
most functional, you may wish to have the student
continue to print.
Cursive will take longer then printing until students
have success with forms and connectors. This
may make it less appealing.
l, e, f, h, k, b
Letters start off with a kite string and then loop
Roadblocks That May Be Encountered
Loop Group:
Hills and Valleys:
n, m, v, y, x, z
Letters in this group contain “hills or valleys”.
For more information on letter groupings or words to
describe movements, contact the Occupational Therapist
for your school.
Hopefully this newsletter has given you some tips and
strategies to help make printing and cursive writing a
successful experience for all children!
Example of Letter Groupings for PRINTING
Half Moon: c, a, d, g, q
Letters all start by making a half moon shape.
Mountains: v, w, y, x, z
Letters start at the middle line and go down the
Flag Poles: l, t, k, i, j
Letters start at the top and slide down the flag pole.
Olsen, J. (2004). Handwriting without tears. Cabin John, MD:
Jan Z. Olsen.
Bounce Letters: r, n, m, p, h, b
Benbow, M. (1990). Loops and other groups: A kinesthetic
writing system. USA: Therapy Skill Builders.
For more information contact
the therapist for your school.
Allied Health - Edmonton Zone