Here in the US, kids are getting ready to go back to school. And most of them haven’t been writing much in the last 6-8 weeks. At the kindergarten level, some children will have forgotten any lowercase letters they knew in the spring. At the 1-2 grade levels, it is not uncommon for kids to forget how to form letters, where to place them on the baseline, and how to use simple punctuation. Teachers sometimes need to use the first 1-2 weeks for review alone.
What if they didn’t need to review? What if your child was ready to hit the ground running (and writing)? There is nothing like seeing a confident kid sit down to crush her homework instead of struggling through it. For all those writers who worked hard last year and are a little nervous to pick up a pencil again, here are some ideas that help getting back to writing fun and easy:
- Get good materials. Kids are just like adults. We like new, cool stuff. So do they. I recommend using the best eraser (Problems With Handwriting? You Need The Best Eraser ) and either the small Learning Without Tears (they changed their name!!!) pencils for kindergarteners, or the Papermate 1.3mm lead mechanical pencils for older kids. Take a look at my post on these useful pencils Great Mechanical Pencils Can Improve Your Child’s Handwriting Skills
- Use fun workbooks like Madlibs and games like Hangman. Make up games that you think your kids will find funny. Try the Junior version of Madlibs for grades 2-3, and the regular one for the higher grades. There are themes for every kid, trust me. Something will be funny. Do them together with your child, have a contest for silliest madlib, send them to relatives that can appreciate this humor, etc.
- Target any errors made in writing their first and family name first. Those errors will be repeated over and over in the first few days of school if you do not focus on them. Time to make this a priority.
- Figure out where the gaps are, and hit the low-hanging fruit next. Why? Because that builds confidence. Look for simple errors with easy-to-write or frequently written letters. Think “a”, “e”, and “t”. Doesn’t even have to be letters; could be numbers. Kids need to feel like they can hit singles, and then they will try harder for doubles and triples. Forgive the baseball reference; I saw a ton of stickers and vanity plates today. Apparently all of my neighbors are big baseball fans!
There are only a few weeks of summer left, but if you make a small effort, it can mean a lot to a child’s first weeks of school!