Monday, July 30, 2012
Handwriting Skill takes time to develop
We are hardwired to learn how to speak. Babies discover that they can make a sound and begin to consciously make more sounds beginning around five months. They then continue on to form individual words such as Mama or Dada, then put two words together, then more words are put together and finally around the age of three years old full sentences are being spoken. We accept that oral language takes time to develop. Not acquiring verbal language in a reasonably appropriate time can be an indicator of further developmental delays.
We are not hardwired to write by hand. This is a skill that needs to be acquired, that is, taught by someone who has mastered the skill and learned by the student. For thousands of years young children have been able to acquire this skill. One factor remains a constant: it takes practice.
Cursive writing was quietly eliminated in a very gradual process. The subject remained in the official curriculum. Once it was taught for a short period of time, schools did not give any attention to the practice component. In other words, they were not required/expected to write in cursive after they were taught how to form the letters. This was a fundamental step in the decline of cursive. Teaching cursive only requires part of one year's curriculum, after that it's simply a matter of getting enough practice for the writing to become automatic. Speed of writing also increases through practice.
One educator told me that he was requested to type all tests and homework assignments because the students who were having difficulty with writing cursive would not be able to read the tests and this would put them at a disadvantage.
Educators today will tell parents that children will be fine if they are able to print. Many teachers are led to believe that cursive handwriting is simply too difficult for children to master nowadays. Today's children are able to master cursive writing, private schools, tutoring centres and most home schooled children prove that they are still able to write in cursive.
More children's activities:
Take a medium size wicker bread basket and put 20 or so large buttons or large tubular pasta in the basket. Another child (or adult) hits the bottom of the basket firmly so the items in the basket "jump up". The child must see how many of the items he/she can gather before they drop down into the basket again. This activity encourages reflex development as well as grasping skills.
Blow bubbles outside at an easy to reach height for the child and then see how many bubbles the child can burst using one hand and then the other hand.