A study by FIU College of Education Professor Laura Dinehart concludes that a 4-year-old who practices his or her handwriting can do better in elementary school–both in reading and math–than someone who never focused on penmanship. Below are some of Dinehart’s tips to get a child interested in handwriting:
1. Have writing material available to children at all times. That includes markers, pencils, pens, and crayons, as well as coloring books, paper, and journals. Easels, with both dry erase markers and chalk, are often a low cost purchase that encourage children to draw and write.
2. Be creative in how you get your child to write. Keep in mind that spelling accuracy is not important here. It’s the act of “writing” that is the target.
- Ask your children to make their own shopping list before going to the grocery store.
- Ask your child to write down the cookie recipe you’re doing together.
- Going to the zoo? Let’s make a list of the animals we think we’ll see and we can check them off as we go along.
3. Lots of books encourage children to draw, make shapes, and trace letters and numbers. Make sure you have a few available for them to practice on.