Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dirty Handwriting

Teaching handwriting is tough.  Little fingers, especially boy fingers, have a really hard time with this fine motor skill.  I have a teacher friend that mentioned that it's much easier for them to use their fingertips than it is to use a pen or pencil.  Teach them the shapes of the letters first, she said, then move on to properly holding a pencil.  So we do.  We practice writing letters when there is condensation on the mirror or when we have our hands covered in finger paint.  We have some iPad apps that are amazing (Reading Raven is our favorite).  They give them a chance to trace letters with their fingertips and learn the sounds of each letter.  But I am almost always the one who comes up with the idea.  Today, it was my oldest who...wait for it...wanted to practice handwriting.

We were taking a walk and stopped at their favorite spot.  There is a house being built on the corner and there is always a huge pile of dirt to climb and tire treads from construction vehicles.  Just knowing they are standing in the same place a dump truck has been gives them a thrill.  They were running around while I talked to a neighbor when my oldest said, "Mommy, look!  I wrote my name in the dirt!!"

He had traced the letters using a big stick in the dirt and it was perfect.  I cheered for him and asked him what he wanted to spell next.  As he came up with words, we sounded out the spelling and I helped him with any letters he didn't know.  "Could you do it first so I can trace it and practice?" he would ask.  Why yes, yes I will.  My youngest even started trying to trace letters as he watched us play.  Who knows how much his little mind is processing in the midst of all of this.

He kept at it for twenty minutes or so - Longer than he ever does when it is my idea.  It showed me that even though he isn't always enthusiastic when I am teaching him, he is learning.  He is paying attention to the ideas and applying them in his very own way.  It isn't important whether he is writing in the dirt or on paper at four years old.  It matters that he is writing.  So go easy on yourself if you are helping a child that is fighting you at every turn.  They might be listening more than you know.  And you may see that learning show up somewhere where you least expect it.

How do your children show you how they want to learn?  What are some ways you can use their interests to teach them what they need to know?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...