How to Improve Handwriting Speed
Writing is tough. As parents we tend to forget that writing is a complex cognitive task. Whether your child is crafting one sentence or a multi-paragraph literary response, writing requires putting to use a variety of mentally and physically demanding skills at once.
It’s no wonder then that the most common concern we hear from parents is, “My child doesn’t like to write.” Our reply: Why?
Children’s complaints about writing take many forms. Generally though, their words reveal the underlying issue.
- It takes too long. (speed/stamina)
- I don’t have any ideas. (brainstorming)
- I can’t find the words. (vocabulary)
- I don’t know what to write next. (organization)
- I don’t want to write. (attitude)
Today we’ll address the child who hates to write because it takes too long.
For younger children, the physical production of letters may be difficult and result in slow writing, while older children lack the stamina needed for focused writing. Regardless of age, the only way to improve writing speed is practice. Make it mandatory to write for 15 minutes per day. Here are a few activities to fill that time:
Copywork. Take a paragraph from a story, newspaper, or magazine that your child enjoys reading (3 to 5 sentences). Work on the same paragraph throughout the entire week, writing the paragraph two to three times, making sure to spell all the words right, include proper punctuation, and to make sure that it is being copied neatly and in a timely fashion. (Add a timer. Time your child to see how long it takes. Try to see if he can speed it up each time he rewrites it. Celebrate his improvement across the week!)
Freewrite. Have your child sit down with a journal and a pen. Start a stopwatch. For four minutes, tell her to write down everything that comes to mind. No erasing, scribbling out, no bad ideas. When she is done, simply offer praise or a reward for four focused minutes of writing. Once you see her develop handwriting fluency, gradually increase the amount of time she spends freewriting.