Monday, April 16, 2012

Simple Ideas to Make Writing Easier

Dear Friends,
     Students often love to write in a journal, especially if they are writing about an experience they had recently or are able to write about something that is important to them.  Sometimes students have wonderful ideas, but their ability to write prohibits them from being able to write all that they want to say.
     Students who struggle with writing can benefit from some simple hand and body exercises that will strengthen their grip and develop muscle memory to enhance their writing ability.  Below are some simple exercises to make writing more fun.
Happy Writing,
  • Playing with Play-Doh - Students can strengthen their hand muscles by using Play-Doh.  When they create with clay or Play-Doh they strengthen muscles in their hands.  Students can also combine large body movements with small hand movements to strengthen their core.  An example might be squeezing Play-Doh in each hand, while bending knees and trying to stay balanced.
  • Creating Large Letters in the Air - When students create large letters in the air by "writing" with their whole arm, they create muscle memory where the whole body understands the shape and movement of the letters.  Students can do large writing in the air and then slowly decrease the letter size until they can just use one finger to make the letter as it might be on the paper.
  • Gripping - Sometimes students find that using a pencil grip is helpful for holding the pencil in a relaxed way.  There are a variety of grips to try - and it can be fun for them to see which one works for them.
  • Pinching  - When students can use tweezers or can pinch their fingers together, they are strengthening their ability to hold a pencil.  Having students pick up cotton balls or pom-poms is a fun way to develop more hand strength.
  • Talking - It can be helpful for students to talk about how they feel about writing.  This helps them become more objective about themselves as a writer and learner.  When they can talk about their successes and frustrations, they have a better sense of what they need to help them.  Sometimes with students I also have them talk about their ideas first, while I jot them down, or I have them draw their ideas out.  Once students feel that they can get their ideas out, they can relax and focus more on the actual writing.