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Ask Jan

Founder, Jan Z. Olsen, answers all your questions!

How do I help kids to express themselves if they’re struggling to write words?

First build the foundation. Teach the 3 handwriting skills that support independent writing.  

  • Write letters correctly from memory.
  • Write words correctly on lined paper.  
  • Write sentences that use a beginning capital, spaces between words and ending punctuation.

Show them how encoding works. Speak and then write word by word for them.

  • Teach the letters needed for the spoken sounds – the beginning sound, the spelling of the sounds, etc.
  • Remind them of words in the room, and spelling resources. 

Speak and write out questions as prompts for independent writing. 

  • Show them how to both speak and write complete answers.   
  • Teach children how to rephrase questions to write answers.

Teach them how to use the letter, spelling and word resources in your room.

  • Organize your resources. You might group words by how they work (naming nouns, describing words/opposites, action verbs, or words with tricky spelling-sight words)
  • Model using the resources.

Our handwriting workbooks build a foundation for handwriting and composition success!