How can teenagers improve their handwriting?
It seems a common fact that many teenagers and secondary pupils have bad handwriting and do not know how to improve.. This could be because they may not have been taught how to write correctly or they may have been diagnosed as having dyspraxia, dyslexia or dysgraphia. Bad, messy handwriting often affects school work and grades. They may get bad marks from teachers and examiners who cannot read their handwriting and who may judge them as being ‘lazy’ or ‘unintelligent’. Here is a list of 7 useful tips to improve handwriting:
1. Correct posture helps improve handwriting
It is crucial to encourage a correct posture before attempting to write. This should include keeping the back up straight and no slouching or hunching over the paper. The thumb of non-writing should be placed at the edge of the paper for support and not allowed to rest under the table or under the chin. The height of the table should be approximately waist height and feet should touch the ground. Maintaining an upright back is important for good posture and good handwriting.
2. Always use standard 8mm wide-ruled paper to keep letters a uniform level
Many secondary school pupils who have messy handwriting produce writing where all the letters are the same height. There is often no height differentiation between any letters. This may be because there are so many types of ‘handwriting paper’ that have caused confusion. When the lines are too wide, pupils do not attempt to touch the top line and when there are no lines on the paper children do not know how to keep the angle straight. The best advice to facilitate neat handwriting is to use simple, wide-ruled paper, which has a margin. The type of paper to be used can be found on the stationary section on www.magiclinkhandwriting page. Standard, white, wide-ruled paper is commonly found in school exercise books as well as used in exams, so pupils become used to this and are able to write neatly when it comes to the actual exam itself.
3. The margin must be used for writing numbers and to keep the paper position
Many pupils today are not aware of how useful the margin can help in neatness. The margin is essential for number placement, used when writing dates and numbering bullet points, and this makes a pupil’s sentences appear neat and tidy. Margins are also important for paragraphs and indenting sentences. As well as this, right-handed children should be encouraged to place their left thumb in the margin to enable the page to be kept in a stable position. Every page in the Magic Link Handwriting Programme has a margin so encourage and promote good practise.
4. Triangular-shaped pencils or pens add comfort and can greatly improve handwriting in secondary school pupils
Use a triangular shaped pencil or pen. The ergonomic shape fits comfortably in the hand and helps in fluency and control. Pentel gel pens are ergonomically designed with a triangular finger grip. The gel enables handwriting to be more fluid which helps with speed and flow of sentences.
5. Correct pencil or pen grip helps pupils with bad handwriting or dysgraphia
Neat handwriting is much more easily achieved when the pencil or pen is held correctly. To promote the correct pen grip it is crucial to use a triangular shaped pencil or pen. Surprisingly these are difficult to buy on the high street but is essential for handwriting success. There is a full page dedicated to this on this website. It is important for pupils of all ages to be shown exactly how to position their fingers. They should use ‘frog’s legs’ fingers and furthermore, it is essential not to wrap their thumb around the pen or pencil. Pupils must not obscure their letters with their fingers as they will not see what they are writing and proofreading will become impossible.
6. Differentiating letter heights improves handwriting and confidence
A common problem affecting the ability to improve handwriting is that they write letters which are too small or too big. In addition, pupils must form the correct spacing between words. It is a common sight to see all letters one size, which makes their work appear immature and child-like. Many pupils have never been taught how to contrast letter heights. The 30-step Magic Link Handwriting Programme teaches the ‘tall’ letters and the ‘tiny ‘ letters right from the start, even before cursive handwriting is introduced. It is this important element of the handwriting programme that begins to transform messy scrawl and begins to improve handwriting.
7. A simple cursive font can help teenagers improve their handwriting
Pupils often become confused when there are taught too many flicks and curls in letters. It is crucial to teach a simple font and reduce curls and entry strokes as much as possible. This will make it much easier for a pupil to achieve neat writing, as the letters will be easier to form. On many occasions, removing the lead-in flick results in quickly improve legibility and speed of handwriting.
As handwriting is the main form of written communication among school children, it is essential that the letters are written quickly and precisely. This is particularly important in examinations when pupils are under pressure to answer questions under highly pressurised conditions with rigid time restrictions. The Magic Link Handwriting font ensures that each and every letter is written in the simplest and speedy font to promote speed and legibility at the same time. Under pressure of exams, examiners will be able to read examination papers and allocate higher marks to pupils who are neat and legible compared to those who are messy or illegible.