Could your dyslexic child’s writing be smaller and neater?
Writing in big letters is very common in young children who are just beginning to write. But sometimes the dyslexic child’s handwriting is still really big, even when they get to the age of 8 or 9. By this age, you might expect your child’s writing to have become a little smaller and better formed. But there’s so much else for a dyslexic child to think about. Is my spelling ok? Have I got the letters in the right order? Did I miss a word out? Is my ‘b’ and ‘d’ the correct way round? You can see that his handwriting is probably the last thing he is thinking about!
Here are 5 tips to encourage your child’s fine motor skills and get them to write a little bit smaller:
Check that your child really understands the meaning of big and little
First, play some games to establish their understanding of the whole size concept. When you are out and about, spot big dogs and little dogs. Look out for big brothers and little sisters. Compare big cars and little cars. That way you will be able to tell that your child understands the concept of big and little.
Don’t try to change his pencil grip
Don’t try to change your child’s grip if he is comfortable with it. Many children with difficulties hold their pen in an unconventional way. Right now, there is no evidence to link an unconventional pencil grip with poor handwriting. Changing his grasp of the pencil is unlikely to solve the problem. And is guaranteed to cause a lot of stress for both your child and you.
Try Big and Little Letter Writing
Encourage your child to differentiate between big and little. Grab an A4 piece of paper and some coloured pencils. Then pick one letter of the alphabet – maybe your child’s initial. Get your child to fill the paper with big letters and teeny weeny letters in lots of different colours, so that he is practising varying the size of his writing.
Have fun with Post-it Writing
Alternatively, practise writing really, really small! Get your child to write a list or a reminder for the fridge door on a post-it. That way he will be forced to write as small as he possibly can to fit his message into the available space.
Use a Highlighter Writing Guide
This is a great tip I picked up from Dr. Kate Saunders, Chief Executive of the British Dyslexia Association – and it really works! Take a highlighter and use it to draw a wide line directly above the printed line in your child’s exercise book. This gives your child a guide to write within. Tell him that the ascenders and descenders (the tails on letters such as ‘b’ and ‘p’) are bound to come out of the highlighted space but he should try to keep the rest of the letters within the highlighting. Thank you to Suzie Vazquez for creating some ready-highlighted paper for you to print out .
Lastly, remember it’s practise, practise, practise and after a while, you should see your child’s handwriting getting smaller and more consistently sized.