Seven Ways to Build Great Foundation Skills
Happy fall! With the school year in full swing, you’re probably getting to know your students better. Now that you’ve identified your students' developmental skill levels, you can lay a solid foundation for learning how to write and type.
Whether you’re noticing letter and number reversals or problems with grip, here are some ways to make sure you start with the basics to build fluency and efficiency in writing and typing:
- Model letter and number formations.
Before you dive in to fine motor skills development, model formations with big arm movements so students can see and imitate how a letter or number is formed. The Magic C stroke is an easy way to change capital C and lowercase c into new letters—from capitals O, G, and Q to lowercase a, d, g, o, and q.
- Focus on one letter or number at a time.
Take it slow! In the beginning, children build confidence when they master one letter or number first before moving on to the next. Prevent letter and number reversals with Roll–A–Dough Letters® and the Stamp and See Screen®. It works as a template for tracing letters, and helps children build finger strength too!
- Reinforce good habits with visual or audio cues.
Looking for another way to encourage proper letter orientation from the get-go? Try visual cues! The yellow smiley face in the top left corner of the Mat for Wood Pieces prompts children where to start. Make sure you reward good habits by pointing out when children remember to do something right.
- Use multisensory strategies and tools.
Have you used Wet-Dry-Try? It appeals to all learning styles and is a fun, multisensory way to practice letters and numbers on the Slate Chalkboard or Blackboard with Double Lines. Help children write out their names or phone numbers.
- Enlist help from a specialist.
Find a Level 1 Certified Handwriting Specialist near you. They know the most effective strategies to help students of all levels eliminate reversals, correct grip, and more.
- Start with pre-keyboarding.
Teach touch typing in a developmentally appropriate manner. Start with pre-keyboarding lessons, such as drag-and-drop and mousing activities, so that young children can build fine motor skills before moving on to keyboarding.
- Teach keyboarding with grade-level lessons and progress reports.
With new state and online testing standards, keyboarding skills are now essential for academic success. Manage classroom pace to monitor student skills in each grade. Check student progress with regular typing accuracy and speed Spot Checks.