With the Pencil Going the Way of the Dinosaur You Still Need to Know How to Teach Your Child to Write

Nowadays most schools let children print in block letters like the keys on a keyboard instead of teaching writing as in continuous cursive. Probably a lot of parents cannot see any benefit in teaching writing as their children spend more time on a keyboard than with a pen and notepad. With the influx of modern technology in the classroom and university it would seem that writing is going extinct.

http://merylvdm.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/essay-writing2.png?w=300But it doesn't have to be that way.

Your children still need to be able to write so you, the parent, need to know how to teach your children to write. Teaching writing is not too difficult and once your children know how to write they can write on cards and write shopping lists. I prefer the Montessori way of teaching writing and reading as it uses a hands on approach and can be used with a school textbook.

The basics behind the Montessori approach is sandpaper letters. You make up the words your child is learning at school or kindergarten. And your child traces the sandpaper letter feeling the texture of the sandpaper under her fingertips. This feeling the letters, helps to implant the letters and words and how to write them in your child's mind. When tracing the words your child is actually going through the motions of writing without a pencil. This gets the hand and arm muscles read to start writing when your child picks up a pen. 

Writing like most learning takes time, and I think the Montessori approach with sandpaper letters actually shortens the time it takes for you to teach your child to write.

According to Maria Montessori some children learn to read first, while others learn to write first. It depends on the child. I have the child trace the new words or phonic sounds with Montessori sandpaper letters and this helps to write the new words in the child's mind. While tracing the sandpaper letters the child is actually writing with her fingers so this is the start of the writing process. Sometimes teaching writing too early can hinder learning to read in some children. Because writing takes a longer time than reading it can slow down the child as she spends more time trying to write. If your child is a slow writer just stick to reading.

The school system of today has no time for slow writers but the main problem has more to do with hand strength than slow writing. Under the Montessori system the child's hand strength is built up every day. Therefore when they start to write the child can control the pencil. If your child is having problems with writing, start by building up your child's hand strength. This simple act seems to eliminate a lot of writing problems. Under the Montessori system the child will start to write by themselves. After tracing the sandpaper letters the child will usually pick up a pencil and just start to write without any encouraging. The first part of the writing process is learning to hold a pencil and coloring in different sized shapes. This gets the muscles in the hand and arm ready for writing. The earlier children start to hold and use a pencil the earlier they will start to write.