Aristotle has been writing letters and numbers for a while but because practicing writing is so tedious, he hates to do it and his handwriting is atrocious. Figuring that he just needed more practice (and incentives to practice), I got him an exercise book to practice writing letters. It wasn’t until I peeked over his shoulder that I realised that it wasn’t just practice that he needed. Somewhere along the way, he’d picked up some terrible writing habits.
Firstly, his grip on the pencil is wrong – he uses all five fingers to hold the pencil (if you can imagine it). Not matter how much I correct it, the moment I’m not looking, he slips back to his familiar pencil grip. Secondly, the way he writes his letters are wrong. For instance, when writing the lowercase letter “d”, instead of starting with the bump as if he is writing the letter “c”, he starts with the vertical stroke. He completes the “d” by continuing with a reverse “c” without lifting the pencil off the paper. I’ve sat with him and taught him the correct way to write the letters over and over, but when I stop watching, he switches back and insists on writing the letters his way.
Since I can’t be watching his every stroke, I figured the best thing to do would be to break the habit and get him used to writing the strokes properly using an app on the iPad that will not allow you to write the letters any other way. We have an app called “iWriteWords” which is great for this very purpose, unfortunately, I have no way of monitoring his progress unless I watch him do it. I can’t tell if he cheats and skips letters either. So I started searching for another app that enforces correct writing strokes and records progress (like the Splash Math app) and found “BrightStart Pre-K ABC“.
Like “iWriteWords”, “BrightStart Pre-K ABC” ensures that children write the letters using the correct strokes in the correct order. If your child tries to write out of order, the app stops him and he has to write the letter all over again. There is also a report card that tells you how much your child has been practicing and how well he is progressing.
The down side with using the iPad (or iPhone) for practicing handwriting is that it doesn’t teach you to hold a pencil – well, unless you get one of these…
It’s basically a stylus for touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone so if you want to make writing practice as close as possible to the real thing, I guess this would do it. For now, I’ll settle for taking baby steps – correct Aristotle’s handwriting strokes first then work on his pencil grip.
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