Thursday, October 21, 2010

Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting without Tears is the program we use for teaching Seychelle to write.

You can add in as much as you want with the program or just do the basics.

We do a mixture.  To start off we sometimes use the music CD for kindergarten level. It has some very catchy songs to remember rules for writing.   This program starts off with teaching children the capital letters, so one of the songs is about how 'you always start your letters at the top'. It has actions & is very catchy. (Seychelle has learnt to always start her letters at the top thanks to the song :) 

I included in my program the wooden letter pieces. We always start off our lessons on a Monday with this. Every letter is made up of either long/short lines & big/small curves.  Seychelle sorts through the different wooden pieces to make a letter, like 'P'.  She will pulls out the pieces that make up the letter P putting then together in the same order that it is written. For the letter P she will take a long line and then add to that a small curve.  (There are loads of other activities you can do with the wooden letters that are more suitable to younger preschoolers like putting all the wooden pieces into a bag that you cannot see into and then playing a game where you put your hand in the bag without looking and guess the shape).

We then use the little blackboard that comes included in the program with the tiny sponges. These sponges are great - they are tiny squares which teach the child how to hold a pencil the correct way. You can only hold the sponges in the correct positon to hold a pencil. So it is great practice for getting the right technique for writing.  Seychelle will then practice writing the letter on the blackboard - generally I will model how to do this first, then she copies me. The blackboard has 2 sides so we can practice a few times & then turn over and use the other side as well.

After this we move onto the main handwriting practice book. This book is full of great ideas for teaching your child to write & includes a practice page for each letter of the alphabet.
Seychelle will complete these lessons at the start of each week on Mondays'. I sit with her for the first couple of tries to give her help & support. I then find she is confident to continue the rest on her own.

The following day or the next time we do handwriting, Seychelle will move onto the practice pad, which is full of sheets to tear out and use for practising the letters. Handwriting without Tears (HWT) starts with Capital letters & progresses through the capital letters that begin in the top left corner, then those that start in the middle then the right. So it does not follow a sequence of A-Z, in that order.

Along with this (which only takes around 10 minutes a day - we only do about 2 lines of letters each day), we use Startwrite, which is a program you can download that gives the child more practice with copying letter and words.