Today is the day you are going to take action. Your child’s writing is poor and you know it. It is easy to feel helpless and to let the situation drift from academic year to year. Probably at school there is a sort of low-level nagging taking place each time a task is set. At home, you wear it as an invisible, shapeless burden.
Step 1. Analyse a piece of their writing
Properly look at a line or two of your child’s writing. What do you see? Focus on letter formation, regular letter-sizing, use of capital letters, poor spelling of everyday words, whether they are making any sense, whether their writing floats above the line…
And don’t panic if every one of these points is an issue.
Step 2. Pick 2 points to address first
Create 2 positively-worded targets from the list. I would go for words floating off the line as my first, and creating simple sentences that make sense as my second. Ignore absolutely everything else.
Step 3. Provide your child with a great writing pen (a uniball fine rollerball perhaps).
A smoothly-flowing pen or simply a sharpened pencil will hugely improve the quality of your child’s work. A lovely quick-fix to make you both feel good straight away.
Step 4. Explain yourself
Have a warm chat with your child about how you want to help them improve their writing. It is such an essential life skill that will be holding the back at every turn. Show them the 2 targets and make sure they completely understand them. If your child is not writing in sentences yet, then you need to ask them to speak what they want to say aloud to you, before starting to write.
Step 5. Be consistent
Every time you see a piece of your child’s writing you need to comment (as positively as possible) on your 2 targets alone. Ask the school to support you – with a teacher on-side those specific areas will be fixed in days. Invest in some shiny stickers (and you never know, their teacher might be happy to use the stickers on your behalf). As soon as the 2 targets have been fixed by your child, pick your next two and begin again.
Step 6. Know when to ask for outside help
Extremely poor spelling or handwriting can sometimes be a sign of a specific learning difficulty. Don’t be afraid of this but embrace it. Push your school for an assessment – stay positive but don’t let it slide. If you have no luck there, contact Starjumpz in Crowborough for advice.
Step 7. Teach them to touch-type for free
We all type these days and it is a particularly useful skill for children who struggle to spell. I have found this amazing free online typing course for children. Liberate your child and get them started straight away. 10 minutes a day for a week or so and they will have cracked it.