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My son, Alex, struggled with his handwriting during his first years of school and I was at a loss of how I could help or what I could do. It was really taking a toll on his self-confidence and delayed his learning abilities and I too felt frustrated not knowing how to help. I searched for something different but they were all the similar writing sheet product that did not help my son. He needed a visual guide. So, I created something to help him myself…Channie’s was born!
I saw changes in him within just a few short months. Not only did his handwriting dramatically change, his attitude toward writing changed significantly. Now he is proud of his neat handwriting!
Alex’s teacher asked me how he was changing so quickly and told me that a lot of young kids could benefit from the sheets I was creating for Alex. It is my goal to provide others with the same success and tools that I provided for him.
As a parent, you may not always realize how much work it takes to teach your child how to read until you start. Learning to read is not a natural process. It does not happen on its own, and must be taught with patience and guidance.
It’s a tricky and complex process requiring different skills and strategies. Two such strategies are Sight Words and Phonics. There are different strategies for teaching your children how to read. However, studies have shown that some strategies are more effective than others.
In this guide, we will share with you the proven ways to teach your child how to read.
What Parents Need to Know
Your child might seem to love reading. They might also own a lot of books. But, the first thing you need to know is that this is not an indicator of how good they are at reading.
You need to follow a systematic process that encompasses all important themes.
The first three basic themes to determine their reading fluency levels include:
- Attaching meaning to words and phrases.
- Understanding sounds in spoken words, known as Phonemic Awareness.
- Knowing that letters in print correspond to sounds, known as Phonics.
Children also need to take lessons on prewriting, writing, vocabulary, and repeated readings.
Try to find out if your child’s reading curriculum contains the vital lesson sections. You can compare your child’s reading curriculum to the chart outlined here by Courtenay Kelly.
That said, there is a lot more you need to consider when you want to teach your child how to read. Consider the following factors when structuring reading lessons for your child.
1. A clearly defined Phonics scope and sequence
It’s so easy to add phonics to your child’s reading lesson plan without structure. However, studies have shown that phonics requires a defined scope and sequence.
This makes it easier to establish coordination and track your child’s progress. Engage in a step-by-step process that guides them through letters and sounds.
When they learn to decode simple words, they can apply that skill for more challenging words. This leads to better comprehension and fluency.
They should also use decodable or short books that contain words and sounds. This will help them grasp the basics of phonics.
These books help them practice and apply the skills. This is so they can master and transfer the skills to reading and writing.
Typically, kids get better at phonics as they grow older. When that time comes, they might not need much help. But there’s no such thing as too much phonics instruction. You need to always keep in mind that phonics instruction is a necessity. This is important for young children and struggling readers.
2. Read-alouds are crucial
To effectively teach your child how to read, you must task them to read aloud, especially in an engaging manner. Research shows that read-alouds boosts emergent literacy and language development.
This is because it helps them build their content knowledge and vocabulary quickly. Through read-alouds, your child will be involved in interactive conversations. Here is where they can think about the content they’ve read, and then use the vocabulary they learned.
There are other reasons to have a lot of read-aloud sessions. These sessions can also feature informational texts, alongside science and social studies lessons.
Reading out loud will also improve your relationship with your child. This can be a great opportunity for them to show off their reading skills and for you to be their biggest cheerleader. It is a great way for a parent and child to bond. Ultimately, reading aloud will promote their love for reading.
3. Avoid over-reliance on visual cues
Your child mustn’t be guessing words or relying on visual cues alone. One good strategy to teach your child how to read is to ensure that they don’t spend so much time trying to guess an unfamiliar word through pictures.
Instead of doing that, you should focus on helping them sound out and blend words from the earliest level on. By the ninth grade, they should be able to read without needing any picture cues.
We also suggest that your child doesn’t rely so much on flashcards as they promote reliance on visual cues. Sure, flashcards should be a part of the process. But, it’s more effective to spend time reading stories to your child than to use flashcards.
4. Avoid organizing books at different reading levels
Organizing books at different reading levels may seem like a good way to guide your child’s progress. Many parents don’t want to advance to a higher level if their child has yet to master a lower level. They believe that advancing too soon can discourage the child.
But the reality is different. Research shows that kids learn more when they feel challenged. This can be done by using slightly advanced reading materials. In truth, reliance on levels and only sticking with one reading level can lead to gaps in readability.
Stages of reading development
Reading development isn’t only a matter of physical maturation or the environment. It is a conscious process that encompasses the five stages of literacy development.
Hence, you need to keep in mind the demands, expected outcome, and challenges of each stage. Also, keep in mind that a child’s current age group might not mean they are in that stage of development.
But the context of each stage should offer ideas on how to fine-tune their reading skills.
Here are five stages of reading development, as proposed by Maryanne Wolf (2008) in Proust and The Squid: The Story and Science Of The Reading Brain:
- The emergent pre-reader (generally between 6 months to 6 years old)
- The novice reader (generally between 6 to 7 years old)
- The decoding reader (generally between 7 – 9 years old)
- The fluent comprehending reader (generally between 9 – 15 years old)
- The expert reader (generally from 16 years and older).
Stage 1 – The emergent pre-reader (age range: 6 months to 6 years old)
At this stage, your child will sample and learn from a full range of stimulants, for example:
– multiple words.
– literacy materials.
– plain conversations.
They will also be able to:
- “Pretend” to read children’s books.
- Retell stories in their own way by looking at the pages of books they are familiar with (especially their favorite stories).
- Name letters of the alphabet, or at least sing them.
- Play with books, pencil, and paper.
- Print their own name.
At this stage, it is especially important to:
– Read aloud to your child.
– Respond to their questions.
– Appreciate their interest in books.
Your child should be able to understand thousands of words they hear by age 6, and be able to read a few.
Stage 2 – The novice reader (age range: 6 to 7 years old)
The second phase is the alphabetic fluency stage. Here is where they discover the relationship between sounds, letters, printed words, and spoken words. Your child should be able to:
- Begin reading simple stories with Sight Words and high-frequency words.
- Use emerging skills and insights to “sound out” new one-syllable words.
- Start decoding prints and understanding them.
- Learn more than the surface of words to understand its multiple uses and functions in different contexts.
Reading aloud is an important aspect of this phase to help them with phoneme awareness and blending. Children also need phonics instruction as well.
Reading to your child at above their reading level will aid their development. They will learn more advanced language patterns, concepts and vocabulary.
By the end of stage 2, most children should understand over four thousand words and be able to read about six hundred.
Stage 3 – The decoding reader (age range: 7 to 9 years old)
In phase 3, your child begins to transition from identifying words and letters to discovering words and patterns. They will learn to:
- Read familiar texts and stories with increasing fluency.
- Comprehend reading materials, and no longer focus on decoding words.
- Self-correct when they read incorrectly.
- Spend less time on sound reading and more time grouping letters.
- Automatically recognize words that appear regularly.
This phase is about consolidating foundational decoding elements, sight vocabulary. They will also extract meaning while reading stories and selected texts that they are already familiar with.
Your child will also need lessons in advanced decoding skills. This is alongside a broad exposure to familiar and interesting materials. At this stage, you will observe that your child no longer pauses a lot when pronouncing a good number of regular words.
By the end of Stage 3, they should be able to understand over nine thousand words when heard, and read and understand about three thousand words.
Stage 4 – The Fluent, Comprehending Reader (Age range: 9 to 15 years old)
This phase is all about using reading to:
– acquire new ideas
– experience new feelings
– gain new knowledge
-explore issues from diverse perspectives.
Your child should be able to:
- Have less difficulty reading independently
- Read on to learn new information and write for multiple purposes
- React to the texts they read by answering questions, generating questions, writing, discussions, and more.
At this stage, you should introduce your child to advanced reading material. Choose material that contains new vocabulary and syntax, new ideas, and values. Examples would include newspapers, trade books, textbooks, magazines, and reference works.
You can help your child at this stage to ask critical questions to get to the essence of what they are reading.
By the end of this stage, they should have a higher listening comprehension than reading comprehension of the same material.
Your child at this stage is building up a collection of knowledge and is ready to learn from any source.
Stage 5 – The expert reader (age range: 16 years and older)
At this stage, most children become fully fluent and capable of independent reading. They should be able to learn from an extensive list of advanced materials. This includes narrative and expository works with diverse viewpoints.
This would also include diverse disciplines, such as:
– social sciences
– current affairs
– social issues
Challenge children at this stage to have adult-level discourse. This is a great way for them to process and apply what they have read.
Methods of teaching your children how to read
Now you have an idea of the different challenges and milestones involved in each stage of reading development. The next step is to talk about the most effective techniques to teach your child how to read.
As said earlier, studies have shown that Phonics and Sight Words are very essential in this process. Let’s talk about these two techniques and how they can help in teaching your kids how to read.
Phonics involves teaching children to read by linking sounds to the symbols representing them. The sounds are called phonemes, and the symbols refer to the letter groups or graphemes.
There are over 44 different sounds or phonemes in English. Each phoneme is represented by one or more letters. For instance:
- The sound “d” in “dog” is represented by one letter.
- The sound “ar” in “garden” is represented by two letters.
- In the word ‘delightful’, “igh” is represented by three letters.
Sometimes a specific grapheme corresponds to a phoneme in the written word. This is called grapheme-phoneme correspondence. For instance; the “ay” sound can be represented by graphemes such as:
- “a” in “acorn”
- “ay” in “play”
- “Ai” in “snail”
- “a-e” in “pale”
- “eigh” in “eight” and many more.
So, kids can learn to identify each sound and their corresponding graphemes. Then, they can blend the sounds together to pronounce words.
Phonics instruction is specifically part of the curriculum from kindergarten through second grade. Kids in first grade and kindergarten learn this explicitly.
Phonics learning should follow the steps outlined below.
Step 1: Decoding
– thinking about what sound a word begins with
– saying that word out loud
– recognizing how a letter represents that sound
Most phonics programs would start with learning the letters s, a, t, n, i, p first. Learning them first will help your child arrange them into a variety of words.
Also, while your child learns to say the sounds of letters out loud, they should also start learning to write the letters. This is called encoding.
Step 2: Blending
At this stage, your child will go from sounding individual phonemes to blending them and saying the whole word. This is a big step and requires a lot of time to master.
Step 3: Decoding CVC words
Here, your child will focus on reading and decoding three-letter words arranged as consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC). They will learn letter sounds such as b, g, h, d and vowels such as e, o, u. CVC words include cat, mat, rod, bed, rod, and son.
Step 4: Decoding consonant clusters in CCVC and CVCC words
Here, kids will learn two consonants placed together in a word in what we call consonant clusters. These two consonant positions can include pl, lk, cr, st, tr.
CCVC stands for consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant. Examples of these words include trap, plan, and stop.
CVCC stands for consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant. Examples of these words include fast, cart, and milk.
Step 5: Vowel digraphs
A digraph is two vowels making one sound. Some examples include /ai/, /ee/, /oo/. Here they will learn to sound out words like door, boat, or deer. They will also learn to combine vowel digraphs with consonant clusters like stool, groan, and train.
Step 6: Consonant digraphs
Your child will learn about consonant digraphs. This involves two consonants making one sound, for example sh and ch. They will also begin blending with other sounds to make words. For example, chain, shop, chat, and shout.
Step 7: Vowel digraphs and trigraphs in First grade
By the first grade, your child should explore vowel digraphs and trigraphs (groups of two and three letters) further. They should also learn that different groups of letters can represent one sound.
Step 8: Suffixes and changing root words in Second grade
By second grade, they should learn spelling rules such as adding suffixes to words. For example:
They will also learn how to change root words when adding suffixes. For instance, removing “e” to add “ing”.
After this, they will move to harder concepts such as specific endings like “il” in “fossil” and “le” in “bottle” and silent letters (write, knock, debt, etc.).
What to consider when teaching phonics instruction
Never forget that phonics instruction requires an explicit and systematic process. This makes it easier to track your child’s progress.
You should also use diverse phonics practice worksheets. This is to give your child more avenues to become better at sounding words independently.
Overall, while your kids learn to decode (read) at every step, they need to also learn to encode (write down spoken words).
This will help them spell words correctly, and they can move on to producing their own pieces of writing.
Phonics instruction encompasses teaching sounds that follow basic spelling rules and phonetic principles. But what about words that do not follow rules?
These words are called sight words. Words like “who”, “does”, and “come” don’t follow the rules of spelling or the six types of syllables.
So, these words cannot be sounded out or decoded. It is also challenging to represent these words with a picture. So, it’s important to teach your child to memorize these words as a whole by sight.
This will help them recognize these words quickly and read them without decoding. Children are more likely to comprehend what they are reading if they recognize sight words in less than three seconds.
Do realize that we often pair sight words and high-frequency words as the same. But this is different. Sight words must be memorized and do not follow standard phonetic patterns. High-frequency words, in contrast, are words popularly found in written languages.
However, to teach your child how to read, we can treat sight words and high-frequency words as the same. This is because we use both types of words consistently in both written and spoken language. They also appear in stories, textbooks, and books.
So, teaching your child to memorize them will help them recognize the words quickly.
Steps to teach sight words
1. Leverage Sight Word lists
Here are the two most popular sources to teach your kids sight words.
Dr. Edward Dolch developed the Dolch Sight Word Lists in the 1930s and 1940s. This word list can be used to teach from Pre-kindergarten to third grade.
The list contains two hundred “service words “and ninety-five “high frequency nouns”. This amounts to 80% of words you will find in a typical children’s book and 50% of the words in texts written for adults. This list is especially beneficial for teaching kindergarten sight words.
The Fry Sight Words List is an expanded word list for grades 1 – 10. It was first created in the 1950 and updated in the 1980s.
It is based on the most common words you will find in reading materials used in teaching kids in grades 3 to 9. The Fry list contains over a thousand of the most common words in the English language. These words appear in any typical book, website or newspaper.
Examples of sight words at different grade levels
You can pull from one or both of these lists to create sight words for different levels. For example, Pre-K sight words include:
Sight words for 1st graders include after, again, could, from, had, her, his, of, then, and when.
2. Use structured lessons
There are dozens of books that can provide structure as your kids learn sight words. One of the most revered is the Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide by Fountas and Pinnell.
3. Teach sight words in steps of three or five new words
Ideally, you can introduce your child to three to five new words at every given lesson. However, you should always ensure your child remembers the previous words before introducing new words.
If they don’t, return to the previous words until they have mastered them, before moving to the new words. Also, you should be devoting at least 15 to 20 minutes a day to teaching sight words.
4. Make read-aloud interactive
Again, read-aloud is your go-to strategy to ensure that your child learns how to pronounce each word correctly. Emphasize repetition and encourage your child to chime in as you point out the words to them.
5. Use multisensory activities
Learning sight words should be a fun and interactive session. Fortunately, you can find hundreds of sight word activity ideas online and offline.
It’s important to focus on multi-sensory activities. Some of them are:
– filling in missing letters
– writing a word using their finger on a table, sand, or in the air
– rearranging letters correctly to spell words
Many of these games can be structured with the materials you have at home. Don’t also forget to add engaging storybooks that contain lots of sight words. You should make learning sight words a daily activity.
What to do when your child isn’t progressing in learning to read
When a child isn’t progressing, you should take steps to find the underlying issues. Sometimes it might be due to some ineffective teaching strategies. Other times, it’s a learning challenge.
The truth is, it’s often tricky to figure out the issue. That said, you should consider giving them tests to have a clearer view of the problem. For first graders and kindergarteners, ask your child’s school to test their fluency, phonics, and phonemic awareness.
For older kids, a test on vocabulary would be much better. Once you find the issues, you can follow a systematic approach to address the issue.
Other tips to help your child learn to read fluently
There’s so much you can do to teach your child how to read. Usually, schools can only do their best with limited resources. In truth, they might have pre-set strategies that seem to work for others but are not effective enough for your kids.
So, you should take steps to help them improve their reading abilities at home.
But first, you must never see these interactions as a drilling exercise. It’s very important that you maintain a playful and fun learning environment. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Challenge your child to find everything at home that begins with a specific sound
- Use songs and nursery rhymes to help them build phonemic awareness
- Stretch out one word in a sentence. For instance, you can ask your child to “pass the salt” but you enunciate the individual sounds in the word ‘salt’.
- Let your child figure out what every family member’s name would be if it began with a specific sound (e.g., “d” sound)
- Create a print-rich environment. You can use posters, labels, books, or charts. Here is where your child can see and apply connections between letter and sound symbols.
- Read your child’s favorite book over and over again. You can also help your child use their finger to follow along as you read each word.
You can teach your child how to read quickly if you follow a structured process. Focus on systematic phonics instructions, sight words, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, and fluency.
Don’t forget to monitor their progress using the expected outcomes of the five stages of reading development. But above all things, always remember that every child learns at their own pace. So you should focus on making the entire process enjoyable. A positive and rewarding learning environment is always the best way to achieve success.
Many of us grew up memorizing the multiplications times table.
So we pull out the flashcards and train our kids to repeat until they have them memorized.
This tedious process paints a negative picture. It complicates multiplication, when it should be fun!
Incorporate techniques that make it easier to teach multiplication to your kids. You want your kids not only to master the tables, but also understand the underlying principles.
Why is it important to learn how to teach multiplication facts to children?
Multiplication facts are also called multiplication times tables. It refers to all the multiplication tables from 1 x 1 to 10 x 10.
Multiplication facts help towards learning how to tackle more complex mathematics. This includes division, fractions, finding common denominators, and lots more.
When your kids learn multiplication facts, they save time making simple calculations.
How do I know when to teach multiplication to children?
This helps them prepare for third and fourth-grade math topics like division and multi-digit multiplication. The following steps will show you how to teach multiplication to your kids.
Steps to follow on how to teach multiplication facts to children
Step 1: Slow down
Avoid overwhelming your kids (and yourself) by trying to teach them all the multiplication facts at once.
Break them into manageable chunks to make them feel much more doable. That way, you should focus on one timetable at a time.
Step 2: Help your kids understand what multiplication problems mean
Mindless repetition makes the multiplication facts look like sequences of abstract symbols. This makes them a lot harder to memorize.
It’s a lot better to use systems that help them understand what the multiplication problems mean.
For instance, we don’t recommend using grouped objects. Having your kids count out 7 groups of 9 objects won’t get them closer to understanding what 7 x 9 truly means.
Figure 1 Multiplication dot array (Pinterest)
Instead of doing this, we recommend using a multiplication dot array and an L-shaped cover. The dot array allows you to slide the L-shaped cover over the top of the array to show multiplication facts from 1 X 1 to 10 X10.
Let’s say you wish to help your child understand 7 x 9.
7 X 9 means 7 groups of 9.
Using the dot array, you can slide the L-shaped cover over the top so that the 7 rows have 9 dots. This way, you’ll get 7 groups of 9 dots, which means 7 x 9.
Now ask your child to count the dots to get the answer.
Step 3: Introduce skip-counting
Another fun way to teach multiplication to your children is by teaching them skip-counting.
For instance, when skip-counting by 2, you count 2, add another 2 and count 4. Hence, skip counting by 2s gives you 2,4,6,8,10.
Skip counting by 4 gives you 4,8,12,16,20,24,28,32.
Also, this multiplication strategy shows the importance of teaching your kids addition. Hence, learning multiplication facts is also a great way to practice mental addition.
Step 4: Discuss patterns in the whole chart
Help your kids discover clues and hints to answer any multiplication question in a snap. Using a multiplication chart, you can point out patterns such as:
- All multiples of 10 end in zero
- All multiples of 5 end in either 0 or 5, and are half as large as the multiples of ten
- Any number multiplied by zero equals zero.
Step 5: Help them gain insights on the commutative property
The commutative property means reversing an expression and getting the same result. For instance, 4 X 5 and 5 X 4 equals 20.
Understanding this will also help them handle their multiplication tasks with more flexibility.
The facts that they learn on one multiplication table will help them solve problems in another. This will make solving problems much easier.
Step 6: Mix multiplication facts with other timetables
Once your child masters a new table, you should mix that table with previously learned tables.
Mixing them helps your child view all the facts from the bigger picture. This further helps them keep that information in their long-term memory.
Step 7: Practice each timetable on its own until it’s mastered
Another important step on how to teach multiplication is to make them focus on a specific timetable for several days. This helps them become accustomed to the technique.
You can also add other techniques to bring variety to the table and make learning multiplication fun. Here are some methods to try:
- Recitation: Recitation is still a great technique to teach multiplication to children. This is because recitation helps improve their retention. Using a musical tune and turning it into a song does wonders as well.
- Games: Invest in diverse multiplication games to help your kids enjoy the fun and social aspects of learning. Playing games will also help you better monitor your child’s learning progress. You can also fix mistakes early before they become ingrained.
- Worksheets: Practice is also an essential aspect of learning. It is necessary to get your child worksheets to help them practice what they’ve learned. However, keep your worksheets short to help improve their focus and alertness.
Step 8: Make learning positive and rewarding
Make it a point to reward little wins even when it seems like your child isn’t making much progress. Praise your child and reward them with little things. This will boost their love for learning.
On the other hand, yelling at them or using harsh words will put them under pressure and make them shut down.
You don’t have to use money or material things as rewards. A little candy here and there, or extra TV time would do the trick.
Now that you know how to teach multiplication to kids, you can incorporate these techniques to make learning fun and easy.
Be sure to avoid focusing on mindless recitation of multiplication facts. It never does the job of teaching kids to understand the multiplications table.
Instead, it would be helpful to teach them how to tackle multiplication problems and see the bigger picture.
That said, you should spend time planning out lessons. Invest in creating worksheets and selecting games applicable to your child’s age. Your child will thank you for it!
Classroom learning has become more digital in recent years. This might make you wonder why your kids need dedicated classes on handwriting.
The reality is that handwriting is more than putting a pen or pencil to paper. It’s an important skill that every child needs to develop.
Here’s how handwriting works. First, it tells your mind what to write and how to form the shapes of what you wish to write.
Then your hand moves from left to right as you shape the letters, and your eyes stay focused on the word and movement.
Unfortunately, schools are spending less and less time on handwriting. This means that your child may be stuck with poor penmanship.
The good news is that you can do something about it. You can help your child through the many handwriting problems, and develop their fine motor skills.
Why do you need to improve your child’s handwriting?
As we stated earlier, handwriting is a lot more than learning how to write with a pen or pencil. Here are some other benefits of teaching your kids good handwriting.
- Studies show that handwriting activates the brain in more ways than typing. It is especially beneficial in helping kids build a better working memory. It also develops their ability to create ideas.
- Good handwriting can also contribute to reading fluency. This is because it triggers visual perception of letters.
- Writing effortlessly helps the mind focus more on a topic. The handwriting process promotes clear thought and natural structure.
- Handwriting skills can determine success in both written and non-written standardized assessments.
- Good penmanship is a critical stepping stone to accessible creative and artistic opportunities.
At what age should you start working on improving your child’s handwriting?
Don’t worry if your 3-year-old isn’t writing properly yet. In reality, these seemingly nonsensical scribbles are quite important. Kids need to develop their pre-writing skills first.
However, as parents, we should help them transform those scribbles into fine handwriting at age 6.
6 is the time when kids develop the dynamic tripod grasp. This is the ideal pencil grip required to improve their handwriting. At this age, we need to help them develop legible and readable handwriting.
Steps to improve your child’s handwriting
1. Use the right stationery
The first thing you need to improve your child’s handwriting is to ensure they are using the right pencil.
A good quality pencil will help your child;
- improve their grip
- apply the right pressure
- minimize stress
- produce dark and clean write-ups without leaving marks on her fingers
This pencil’s length should not be more than 6cm as well.
You also need a good eraser that can clean errors at the first wipe. However, it’s not easy to pick up the right stationery from the onset. With a little practice and adjustments, you should find the right one soon.
2. Use the right handwriting worksheets
If you want to improve your child’s handwriting, then you should avoid starting with regular ruled pages or plain white paper.
They need to learn the proportions of their alphabets and space letters properly.
So, you should invest in four-lined pages with brightly colored lines. This will help them improve their handwriting fast and easily.
3. Hold the pencil properly
The first real step to improve your child’s handwriting involves helping them learn the tripod grasp. Not having this grasp will make writing worse.
The tripod grasp involves holding the pencil in place using the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
Fortunately, by the time your child enters preschool, they should know how to model this behavior. You can also help them reinforce this grasp as well.
Source: Growing hands-on kids
4. Apply pressure
To improve your child’s handwriting, you need to teach them how to apply the right amount of pressure on the pencil.
Monitor your child’s writing by checking the kind of imprint left on the next page. If there’s a strong imprint, it might be due to stress.
So even if the handwriting turns out neat, undue pressure and stress is unhealthy for your child. That pressure can also cause eyesight issues and finger cramping. Help your child deal with that stress to start writing calmly.
5. Work within the lines
Help your child learn how to work within the lines of the handwriting paper. This helps them to get alphabet proportions right. It also makes their handwriting more readable. Here are some steps that can help:
- Use colored handwriting sheets that provide guides for each letter.
- Capital letters go from the top to the bottom line. They are twice the size of lowercase letters.
- Make sure the letters don’t sink or float by always positioning the bottom of the letter on the line (except for tails).
6. Learn the correct directions
While teaching your child to write letters from top-down, don’t forget that they need to work from left to right.
Help them learn the correct motion and direction with regular practice.
7. Work on spacing words
After each word, help your kid place their finger on the paper. Tell them to start the next word on the other side of their finger. This process helps them space their words correctly.
If your child is left-handed, you can use a popsicle stick. Alternatively, they can make a small dot after every word. This helps them learn to add a space after every word.
8. Help your child differentiate similar letters
Letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’ can be confusing. Engage in games that can help them distinguish between both letters.
Other commonly confused letters include:
- ‘M’ and ‘W’.
- ‘v’ and ‘u’
- ‘g’ and ‘j’
- ‘t’ and ‘l’
9. Focus on proportions
To improve your child’s handwriting, you also need to focus on proportions.
Good handwriting will pay proper attention to the size, distance, width and style of each letter.
10. Be patient
Writing too quickly can make it hard for your child to develop good handwriting.
Good penmanship demands patience.
11. Practice consistently
One of the best ways to improve your child’s handwriting is to help them practice as much as they can. Try to sneak in writing throughout the day using games and everyday activities.
You can also make the writing lessons fun by using colored pencils, markers, gel, or glitter pens.
Also, incorporate non-writing activities to enhance their fine motor skills. Here are a few examples:
- Cutting paper
- Using cutlery
- Playing Jenga and LEGO
- Using clay and stringing beads.
12. Help identify and solve underlying problems
Look out for handwriting problems and help them find solutions with positive reinforcement. Here are some problems to look out for:
- Inconsistency in upper and lower case writing
- Difficulty spacing of words
- Difficulty in copying words
- Spelling or grammatical errors
- Lack of sense of direction
- Poor sizing of letters
- Poor letter formation
- Wrong pencil grasp
Handwriting is an important motor skill to help strengthen fine motor skills. It helps your kids improve their hand strength and finger dexterity.
Hence you should work towards helping them improve their endurance of writing tasks. With the steps outlined in this guide, you can help improve your child’s handwriting in no time.
Teach your Children how to Write in Cursive
Although computers and digital gadgets have pretty much done away with handwriting, it is
still important to teach your kids how to write in cursive. Read on for more tips!
Teach your Children how to Write in Cursive
Cursive is a style of handwriting where letters join in a flowing manner.
In the past, it was common to see pupils hunched over their desk, practicing cursive writing
until they could barely feel their hands. However, because of typing and texting, a lot of schools have dropped cursive writing from their curriculum.
These days, it is quite uncommon for teachers to teach kids how to write in cursive. Therefore,
cursive writing has become a lost art.
Cursive can improve a child’s motor skills and writing speed. Ideally, school kids should learn
how to write in cursive in their third grade.
But now that many schools no longer do this, you can fill the void by teaching them yourself.
Read on to find out how!
Things you need to teach your children how to write in cursive
If you want to teach your kids how to write in cursive at home, you will need:
● A pencil
● An eraser
● Cursive practice sheets
● A pen
What you should know before teaching your kids cursive writing
Now that you have decided to teach your kids how to write in cursive, you need to first
understand that teaching kids takes a lot of patience.
They’re young and their attention span is a lot shorter than yours, so you have to be patient.
Also, you should only teach your children how to write in cursive when they’re in third or fourth
Steps for Teaching your kids cursive writing
1. Teach them how to read and identify cursive letters
Show your kids all the letters of the alphabet in cursive. Teach your kids how to
pronounce and identify each letter in uppercase and lowercase. Then, you can show
them how to read texts written in cursive.
As soon as your kids know what each cursive letter looks like, it becomes easier to teach them how to write in cursive.
2. Teach them how to form the different cursive patterns
Don’t just rush into teaching them how to write cursive alphabets. Instead, let them
practice how to form different cursive patterns. Use templates with dotted lines to help.
This will train them to write without lifting the pencil from paper.
3. Start from Tracing Alphabets
The most basic tool to teach your children how to write in cursive is a tracing sheet.
Tracing sheets show cursive letters written in dotted lines. Your children have to follow
the pattern on the sheets, to create the cursive letters. This helps give them a good grip
of the alphabets.
In the beginning, you may need to hold their hands and help them trace the letters, but
don’t make it a habit. While at it, make sure that you allow the child to do most of the
4. Start with lowercase letters before uppercase
When teaching your children how to write cursive letters, it is necessary to start with
the lowercase letters. This is because small cursive letters are easier to learn.
Also, typically, a sentence or word contains more small letters than capital letters. So,
this is a good place to start learning how to write cursive letters.
The easiest small letter to write is “u.” This is because it is written with just a single
5. Divide the alphabets into groups
Alphabets can be categorized into groups according to their pattern of writing: The
- Clock climbers: a, d, g, q and c
These alphabets contain clockwise and anticlockwise rotation.
- Kite strings: i, u, w, t, g, p, r, s and o
They connect other letters by strokes that look like kite strings.
- Looped group: h, k, b, f, l, e
These alphabets contain loops.
- Hills and valleys: m, n, v, x, y and z
They look like valleys and hills
6. Teach them how to write cursive capital letters
Let the child form short words using cursive small letters. A fun way to do this is by
making them write the beginning sounds of the alphabets like they do in kindergarten.
Remember “A for Apple; B for ball, C for cat?”. Ask them to form these same words
using cursive writing.
7. Teach them how to write cursive sentences
After your child has perfected how to write words in cursive letters, the next step is to
teach them how to write short sentences. Next, make them write paragraphs, etc.
Other Important tips for teaching your children how to write in cursive
If you want your child to learn quickly, you have to teach them consistently.
If you teach them how to write one letter today, and leave a gap of three days
before teaching them again, they will forget.
The best approach is to teach them two or three letters, three or four times
weekly, and allow them to practice.
Follow the child’s speed
As stated earlier, when it comes to teaching children, you must be patient.
Each child has their unique pace of learning. Some are fast learners, while some
others learn really slowly. Don’t rush or force the child
Pressuring them will only make them hate the process. Instead, lure them into
learning with the promise of an exciting reward.
Don’t rush to teach them so many things at the same time. It takes time for
adults to learn how to write in cursive; so how much more children?
You have to take it one step at a time, and continue teaching them consistently.
Make learning fun
Kids love to have fun. The easiest way to teach kids is by making the learning process fun.
So, make it look like a game and you’ll have their attention.
If you really want to teach your child how to write in cursive, then you should be
ready to invest your time. Sit with them and supervise them as they practice.
This way, you will know when they start writing in the wrong direction, and you’ll
be able to correct them in time.
Although computers and digital gadgets have pretty much done away with handwriting, it is still
important to teach your kids how to write in cursive.
This is because cursive writing stimulates the brain, promotes focus, improves motor skills and
makes writing more presentable.
Many schools have dropped cursive writing from their curriculum, but using the tips mentioned above, you can develop your children’s skills right at home.
How to Teach Addition to Your Children
Nowadays, parents need to take mathematics home learning to the next level to keep their
children ahead of the game. Read on for more tips!
How to Teach Addition to Your Children
After learning how to count numbers, learning how to do addition is the next big mathematical step that every child should take.
Many parents have not figured out how to teach addition to their kids. They leave the bulk of
the work to teachers.
Well, we can’t really blame them! Just like teaching your baby to walk, the early phases of
teaching addition could be quite tricky.
If you want to learn how to teach addition to your kids, read on for a few step-by-step
strategies that’ll ease the process.
1.Ensure that they know how to count
Before you start to teach your child addition, you need to make sure they know how to count
numbers. If a child can’t count numbers—at least from 1 to 50—then teaching them addition
would be a waste of your time and theirs.
So, the first thing you should do is ask them to recite numbers. If they can recite numbers
successfully, then you’re good to go.
2. Use Counting blocks and manipulators
To teach addition to your children, you will need some child learning materials like Lego bricks, beads, cheerios, counting sticks, and other manipulators. Research has shown that children
learn faster when you use these visual tools because they add an element of fun to learning.
- Give the child a small group of bricks (maybe 2), and bring another small group (say 3).
- Ask the child to count the number of bricks in each group.
- Add the two groups together, and make them count them altogether.
- Now explain to them like “We had 2 blocks; then we added 3 new blocks, and now we
have 5 blocks.”
- Repeat the process a few times, and allow them to practice it on their own while you
3. Teach them the doubles
An easy strategy to teach addition to your children is by teaching them the doubles. Research
has shown that when kids have basic math at their fingertips, they become capable of handling
more complex problems.
They should be able to memorize doubles without even thinking about it. Start from small
numbers and start going higher:
1 + 1 = 2
2 + 2 = 4
3 + 3 =6
4 + 4 = 8
5 + 5 = 10
Remember to use the counting sticks, bricks, and other visual aids to make it fun for your
Next, encourage them to memorize as many doubles as possible. It would also help if you make
them recite these doubles every day.
4. Near Doubles
As soon as the kids have the doubles at their fingertips, it is time to teach the addition of near
doubles. Near doubles are basically doubles plus or minus one or two.
Start small and go higher. For example:
2 + 3 = 5
4 + 5 = 9
6 + 7 = 13
8 + 9 = 15
Teaching near doubles is a great way of stimulating your child’s brain.
For instance, now your child knows that 2 + 2 = 4. If you ask them the sum of 2 + 3, they should
mentally calculate 2+2 to get 4, and then add 1 to get the answer 5.
At this point, most kids may count with their fingers. Allow them to enjoy the process.
5. Finding the Ten
When teaching addition to your children, it gets to that point where you introduce a mental
math trick called “Finding the Ten.” This is a great way to teach addition to your children and
watch them practice.
Remind them that 5+5=10, and have them figure out other ways to find 10. Other examples
1 + 9 = 10
2 + 8 = 10
3 + 7 = 10
4 + 6 = 10
This is a great foundation to prepare them for adding larger numbers in the future.
6. Teach them the language that represents addition
Now that you’ve passed the first stage, it’s time to teach them the different ways to describe
“addition.” Here are some words and phrases that refer to addition:
– in total
– sum of
– all together
– joined together
– put together
– how many in all
This will help them to understand addition word problems.
Another important thing you need to do before you start to teach addition to your children is to
be sure that they are familiar with the “+” and “=” signs.
To test their understanding of these signs, ask them to write “two plus one equals three.” If
they can write this correctly, then you’ve successfully ticked this box.
7. Teach them the relationship between numbers
Now that your children have learned how to add to 10 in different ways, it is time to teach
them that other numbers can also be obtained in the same way.
So, your next step should be to teach them different ways to arrive at one answer. Consider
2 + 2 = 4 and 1 + 3 = 4
2 + 3 = 5 and 1 + 4 = 5
2 + 6 = 8; 3 + 5 = 8; 4 + 4 = 8; 6 + 2 = 8
Create more examples, and then give them a little assignment to do.
8. Introduce Skip Counting
Skip counting is a pattern of counting where you’ll ask your kids to count in twos, fives, tens, or
hundreds. It is similar to the multiplication table, but the trick is to make them mentally add a
particular number successively.
Skip counting by twos gives you 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16. You get each successive number by adding
2 to the previous number.
Repeat the same process by making them skip count by 5 and 10. This exercise will help them
incredibly when they start learning multiplication.
When it comes to skip counting, remember to play it safe by using simple numbers like 2 and 5.
Your child may find it easier to skip count by fives than to skip count by fours. The most
important strategy is to follow your child’s pace.
9. Introduce word problems
After teaching your kids how to do addition, create word problems to keep them busy.
Examples of word problems include
12 + 2 = x. Find x
y + 3 = 9. What is y?
In conclusion, learning takes time and consistency. If you’re looking for how to teach addition
to your kids, you have to be ready to invest your time and patience.
If your child is a slow learner, you need to allow them to learn at their own pace. Also, if your
child seems bored or distracted, you should engage them in a way that works for them.
As long as you remain open and adaptable, the possibilities are endless!