Does it matter how a child erases their mistake? You are probably thinking that I ran out of topics for my blog this week. Not exactly.
I was thinking about what makes my handwriting posts different than other bloggers that publish posts on early writing skills. I like to look at all the details when I work with struggling writers. I search for every way I can build a child’s skills and confidence. Knowing how to control an eraser is a simple but important skill for children in kindergarten to master, and can save a homework assignment from the trash bin.
Controlled erasing prevents removal of well-written characters. This means more work and more time to complete an assignment. It prevents paper destruction. If your child struggles to write, imagine how he would feel if he accidentally tore the paper and had to start over.
Why would children fail to control an eraser? Kids with limited hand strength and stability often press too softly or use too much force. Children with sensory discrimination difficulties do the same. Kids who have difficulty focusing, are impulsive or are defiant can make the same erasing mistakes. Finally, kids with motor or orthopedic issues can have the same difficulty controlling the eraser that they experience with their pencil.
What can you do to help?
- Select the right eraser. Although pencils usually come with erasers, some children do much better with a larger eraser or one that is shaped for easier grasp. A larger eraser can also have more textured edges and even more weight, giving children more sensory input with use. My favorite eraser is the Pentel Hi-Polymer latex-free eraser. Super at cleanly erasing, and easy to grasp. Beats every pencil eraser I have ever used.
- Demonstrate how to hold the eraser for control. If a child uses a fisted grasp, they are erasing with elbow or shoulder movements. These large movements are likely to be harder and less controlled. Demonstrate that using a mature tripod pencil grasp will result in more control and faster erasing.
- Make eraser practice fun. Write awful letters, your worst products, in between good examples on a page. Have your child erase your mistakes. Draw mean faces and have them get rid of the “bad guys”. Draw “coins” and see who has the most money left. Bonus round: have them write in the amount on the coins. Larger number, more money!!