Handwriting Help

Updated on April 03, 2013
S.B. asks from Spring, TX
11 answers

My boys have ATROCIOUS handwriting (my daughter could use some tweaking as well). The 18yo's is at least readable but I'm surprised that my 11yo can even read what he's written down. I certainly can't! Since they don't really teach handwriting in school, I'm afraid my 6yo will end up the same way. I'm looking for something I can use to help both my 11yo and 6yo to improve their handwriting. Something that is free would be great but I'm willing to spend a little if I need to. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

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Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm going to hit some of the local teacher supply stores on Friday and see if I can find some things to help them out. :-)

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answers from Eugene on

Italic handwriting. My older son learned this form of "handwriting". It's simpler than the old fashioned style I learned in school. More like printing with a slant. I used a fill in workbook to teach my son. There are free worksheets online and here's an article to get you started:


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answers from Miami on

Go to your local parent-teacher store and get some workbooks. Handwriting is a dying art form and it is being replaced by typing skills very quickly.

There are relatively inexpensive workbooks that you can purchase that teach the various writing methods. I use one with my preschooler for the same reason. I want him to be able to write and it's just not really a focus.

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answers from St. Louis on

"Handwriting Without Tears" . You also can find more resources at Barnes & Noble.


answers from Rochester on

The Handwriting Without Tears program is absolutely great. Yes, the workbooks cost money...but they are affordable (perhaps 6-8 dollars?) and you really don't need the teacher's guide to go with them because they are self-explanatory. However, my recommendation is geared towards printing...if you are looking for cursive help, I don't recommend the same company and I am not sure what's best in that case.


answers from Norfolk on

It comes down to small motor control and practice.
Have them keep a journal and they can write daily in it.
Not like a diary - just a running commentary of their thoughts / events of the day.
Even if all they write is 'I can't believe my Mom makes me write in this journal every day' - it should be legible.

If they use it for nothing else - a person's signature is still pretty important on many legal documents - from a mortgage to a marriage license to signing checks.

I had to put a signature font into a check writing program once and the signature in question was SO illegible I could NOT tell if it were right side up or not.
I took a poll of several people in my department - we made a decision.
Oh well - we guessed wrong and I had to turn it around the following week.
Seriously - it was a complete scribble.


answers from Beaumont on

I taught 1st grade for 15 yrs and one of the main problems was them not being taught to always start at the top of the line. If they start at the bottom and go up it will be always off and once they get in the habit of doing that it is so hard to break.
I always used D'Nealian handwriting because it flows better and is an easier transition to cursive. Zaner Bloser makes a D'Nealian practice book. Which sad to say due to constant test prep they no longer teach cursive.
I also taught which letters were tall and which letters were supposed to stay below the middle line. Tall letters like l h b d, ones that stayed under were a, e, i, o, c etc.... It is all about making them aware of spacial things which is good for their brains and also helps with reading to become more aware of these things.
I always taught them not to run through the bottom line or a shark would be swimming under there and bite their letters off! Unless the letter ended in a fish hook hanging down in the water to catch the shark... like y, g, j etc.
I loved teaching handwriting and teachers in later years always thanked me because my kids were so much more legible.



answers from Cincinnati on

Crayola has alphabet coloring pages to practice both print and cursive writing. My son uses these coloring pages. He is 5. We haven't started cursive writing yet, but his print is very clean after using these coloring pages.

Each coloring page has one line for practicing lower case and one line for upper case, along with a box to draw a picture of something that starts with that letter. I usually print out the writing practice page and the simple alphabet letter coloring page at the same time. My son loves to color and draw. The drawing and coloring help motivate him to do the writing as well.

The coloring pages on crayola are free. When I started having my son practice writing, we did one letter a day. Now we are doing two letters a day for three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we use the Starfall (the free stuff) letter practicing pages to practice writing. He has finished most of the prints, so I am using the blank writing sheet on Starfall to have him write a two or three sentence little story. He draws a picture of the story on the other side of the paper. I think the crayola site has better cursive practice pages than Starfall's cursive pages. However, Starfall is great for teaching reading and practicing print.

You could try the crayola and starfall sites for your 6 year old. I would probably have your 11 year old keep a daily journal. If he doesn't know what to write about, you could give him a topic each time. Topics don't have to be his private thoughts, if he is reluctant to share that with you. He can write about "Why spaghetti is his favorite food" for example. Nothing threatening to his privacy, yet he can still be creative if he wants. I would have him at least write one paragraph a day. Of course it must be neatly written, or he would have to do it again.


answers from Williamsport on

I homeschool. My 7 year old has excellent manuscript and she's loving cursive so far. She loves her handwriting books, it's her favorite no-brainer for the day to just sit and practice her handwriting. We use the Zaner Bloser books, and I've also heard Handwriting Without Tears is good. The Zaner Bloser books are pretty cheap and very simple to use. Their font is highly recommended for transition to cursive.

You order from them: www.zaner-bloser.com. I recommend the first grade one for your 6 year-old. You can probably skip kindergarten one if she has started writing already.



answers from Austin on

Use the font "school text lined" and just stay on him about forming words properly. I am a Kinder teacher and do handwriting daily with my students!


answers from Chicago on

Say WHATTT!?!?!?! They don't teach handwriting in school anylonger? That just seems crazy to me. Well, I guess the best thing to do would be to get those writing/tracing books from a teaching store and add it to the standard homework needs. There are TONS of videos about it on YouTube.



answers from Houston on

Go to a teacher supply store and get some handwriting books. This is the very reason why I have handwriting in my classroom. It is a dying art. It has given way to texting. Sad sad. When they take the writing tests in school they must use a pencil, therefore I do not understand why students are not given handwriting.

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