Spanish—The Tripod Grip

gripillust.spanish.sm.png

Hold the Pencil in the Tripod Grip

Kathy Pedroza teaches Spanish at a dual-language program and translated our “Tripod Grip” illustration. “This has been so helpful, especially in my Spanish dual-immersion class.”

She shows it to her students’ parents, includes it with a letter chart in her kindergarten homework envelope, and refers to it during her 1st-quarter progress report.

For more information on developing the tripod grasp, see Hold the Pencil and the Hold the Pencil Pamphlet.

Hold the Pencil in the Tripod Grip: DrawYourWorld
Hold the Pencil in the Tripod Grip: DrawYourWorld

Handwriting and Self-Assessment

Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com

Self-Assessment of handwriting work. montessoritidbits.com See montessoritidbits.com for Leann’s tips onImproving Handwriting with Draw Write Now.

Leann presents the lessons in three parts in her homeschool:

The Warm-up—review notes from the prior day and work on letters needing help.

Drawing and Writing—30 minutes of drawing and writing.

Self-Assessment—look over the writing and noting the best work and the things that can be improved.

In the classroom, the warm-up and assessment process is just as important. Handwriting improves when the teacher checks over the students’ drawings and writing, noting issues and adjusting the next day’s lesson.

My mom, Marie Hablitzel, had over 30 students in her classes, making it difficult for one-on-one time for self-assessments. The assessments were made, though—she carefully reviewed each of her students’ drawing and writing papers after class and adjusted the next day’s lesson or found time to work with students needing individual attention.

Assessment is a huge part of improving handwriting. 

Handwriting and drawing using Draw Write Now. montessoritidbits.com

Source: http://handsonhomeschooler.com/2013/02/imp...

Art Appreciation

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord

I love to look at artwork from my parents’ generation. This small picture is from the 1940’s or possibly earlier, I suppose. My sister, Anne, bought it at a garage sale years ago and she’s had it hanging in her house since then. I love it—hand-drawn, hand-lettered, such a beautiful style.

 

Our Books: Draw Write Now

Draw Write Now was created for the primary grades, ages five to nine. The lessons are used in preschools, multi-age classes, homeschools and upper elementary classes. Four year-olds and 12 year-olds enjoy doing the lessons together. They have received numerous awards.

Draw Write Now books are NOT workbooks. The series becomes a part of your home or classroom library, to be used many times. Children draw and write on their own paper or may draw and write in the Draw Write Now Workbook (a blank book.)

The Draw Write Now books are numbered 1 through 8, but may be used in any order. The numbers—Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, etc.—do NOT relate to grade level. Draw Write Now, Book 1 has the easiest lessons. If a child is confident with their drawing skills, they may start in any of the books. 

Download the Swan Lesson from Draw Write Now, Book 1 and the Heron Lesson from Book 6.

Both lessons are similar, but the Heron Lesson includes more details. The lessons in Book 1 are lessons Marie used with her students at the beginning of the school year and Book 8 are lessons she gave at the end of the school year.  (pdf, 5.1 MB) 



Here are two lists you might find helpful:

  • A list of the lessons in each of the Draw Write Now books (pdf 49 KB)
  • list of the Common Core State Standards as they relate to Draw Write Now (pdf 348 KB)

Bridge Lesson: Draw Your World

Rachel, age 5

Rachel, age 5

Architectural structures in your community are excellent subjects for children to  draw. I live near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. In 2007, a new bridge was built alongside it. We watched the new bridge go up and learned about bridge engineering and construction, which of course, led to a drawing lesson. This lesson is NOT in a Draw Write Now book—the children and I were simply drawing our world!

Basic Bridge Construction

  • The basic parts of a suspension bridge: towers, main cables, anchorage, suspender cables, road deck.
  • Artistic styles influence engineers as they design a bridge.

Bridge History


University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections FAR165, used with permission 

University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections FAR165, used with permission 

Drawing Lesson: Suspension Bridge

Materials

Prepare the Paper

Paper clip or tape the tracing paper onto the tower template. (The template is removed in Step 6 and the white paper is taped to the back of the tracing paper. The drawing will be completed on the tracing paper.)

 

drawyourworld.com, Draw a Suspension Bridge, Tacoma Narrows

drawyourworld.com, Draw a Suspension Bridge, Tacoma Narrows

drawyourworld.com, Draw a Suspension Bridge, Tacoma Narrows

drawyourworld.com, Draw a Suspension Bridge, Tacoma Narrows


A Suspension Bridge Near You

Bridgemeister.com —See suspension bridges from your neighborhood and from around the world!

Bridgemeister.com —See suspension bridges from your neighborhood and from around the world!


Stephanie, age 10

Stephanie, age 10

Andrew

Andrew

Simple World Map: Draw-Write-Now 7

Draw a Simple World Map

Geography for Life: The National Geographic Standards, 1995, stressed the importance of children knowing how to draw a map of the world. It suggested using simple ovals for each continent. We loved the idea and created a lesson for Draw Write Now, Book 7. It is available here as a free download.

The Common Core State Standards recommends that students “use a mix of drawing, dictating and writing to compose explanatory texts.” Drawing a simple world map helps children develop their own mental map, always at the ready as they build an understanding of our world. It’s easy to see how drawing a simple map can add to the ability to use explanatory texts.
(2 page pdf, 674 KB)

50/50, Fiction/Nonfiction

Draw Your World
Draw Your World

 Newsletter | August 2012   .

50/50, Fiction/Nonfiction

Is nonfiction a significant part of your child’s reading material? The Common Core State Standards recommends that fifty percent of children’s reading text be fiction and fifty percent informational material, like science, social studies and history. Look for books that explain or are factual. Use written text to learn about the world.

Write Nonfiction

It’s one thing to write an imaginative story, it’s another thing to accurately describe and report. As with reading, the Common Core suggests that nonfiction and fiction writing skills be balanced. While drawing a polar bear, discuss the Arctic region and guide the children in drawing an appropriate Arctic background. The things included in their background drawing may serve as a prompt as they write about the bear’s environment.

Read and Discuss

Show that you enjoy reading nonfiction. Marie Hablitzel, the creator of the Draw Write Now lessons, kept a children’s encyclopedia close by while giving a lesson. When the opportunity arose, she read a paragraph or two aloud from the encyclopedia. Her interest in reading sparked the children’s interest and her thought-provoking questions nurtured their curiosity.

Vocabulary

Drawing instruction improves vocabulary, because basic words are demonstrated during a drawing lesson. While teaching, simply describe a line or shape and describe their relationships to each other. You may not even realize that you are modeling these words: over, under, above, below, left, right, diagonal, curved, straight, horizontal, vertical, near, around, between, center, half, quarter, smaller, larger, short, long, zig-zag, choppy, smooth.

Read More

Read multiple books on the same topic. A variety of sources provides a broader understanding of the topic. Nonfiction books on the Arctic:One Small Square: Arctic Tundra by Donald Silver, Houses of Snow, Skin and Bones by Bonnie Shemie, Here is the Arctic Winter by M. Dunphy, Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn Bradley.

Polar bears live in the Arctic.

Thick fur keeps them warm.

They are strong swimmers.

They swim in the icy ocean.

Why do Arctic foxes follow polar bears?
Polar bears hunt seals, but eat only the fat of the seal. Arctic foxes follow the bears and feast on the leftover seal meat. See Alaska’s Three Bears, by Shelley Gill.

 


Common Core

Common Core State Standards provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. Individual states are adopting the standards, see New York.

The Standards, ELA

(pdf, 340kb)

The English Language Arts Standards as they apply to Draw Write Now, from our publisher, Barker Creek.

Handwriting in the News

Computers and gadgets are great for children to experience, but remember to include handwriting instruction and regular practice in their day. Draw and write with your children—make it fun for both of you! This video was on our local news station last night:

A study is mentioned that found the following:

KING5 HealthLink, Good handwriting in children translates to good grades

Marie's Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I wrote this scritch-scratchy thing while Marie and Anne made the pies, way back in 1976. The typed recipe shown below is a cleaned-up version of this, using the Libby’s recipe for reference. Why the lower temps? Marie’s oven ran hot.My mom made the best Pumpkin Pie. Try it. You’ll see!

MARIE’S PUMPKIN PIE RECIPE

My youngest sister, Julie, is traveling across the country this week to visit our other sister, Anne. Julie’s only request for Thanksgiving dinner is Mom’s Pumpkin Pie. Anne hasn’t made the pie for quite some time, so she came to me, hoping I knew the recipe.

Marie used the Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe—the one on the pumpkin can. She added this and that to it. “All I do is add extra eggs and milk, so it’s like a custard.” I’ve made the pies regularly over the years, but I couldn’t assure Anne that my pies were the same as Mom’s. So, she ventured into her creepy attic to find the handwritten recipe that I wrote down when we were much, much younger. Whoa! So brave, and now we’ll share it with you—Marie’s pie recipe… with measurements!

Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Marie’s Pumpkin Pie

Printable Version (84k, pdf)

(Makes 2 pies, 16 servings)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves (optional) 
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 can (29 oz.) Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk 
  • 1-3/4 cups whole milk or 2% milk
  • 2 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shells

Prepare

In a small bowl, mix the sugars and spices—the first six ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs.

Combine and stir the pumpkin, sugar-spice mixture, and eggs in the large bowl. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and milk.

Pour into the pie shells. (You will have extra. Marie usually made another little pie. I pour the mixture into custard cups.)

Bake in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350°F., and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Connecting the Dots

I’m having a hard time focusing on my pile of work that MUST get done today. It appears I’m grieving the passing of Steve Jobs. So, maybe if I write a bit, I’ll get back on track.

I got my first Mac in 1994, right after our first book was published. I bought the thing the same week my husband was laid off from work. It was scary to put down so much money, but I knew I had to learn how to use the computer. The Mac was what our publisher used. Actually, it was the only computer with programs that worked for publishing. Besides that, Macs made sense to me… PC’s befuddled me. They still do. I’ve stayed with Apple all these years and, fortunately, always found a program that worked to cover shipping or whatever for the business.

This editorial by the Seattle Times was published on August 25 after Jobs resigned: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2016015834_edit26stevejobs.html  Here’s what struck me: 

His story could not have been predicted or planned. The Mac’s proportionally spaced fonts helped create desktop publishing. To hear Jobs tell it, their reason for existence was that years before, he attended Reed College in Portland. He became bored with classes and dropped out — but he hung around campus to audit classes that fascinated him. One was calligraphy and typography. It was fascinating to him but completely useless — until it came time to design the Mac.

He called this story “connecting the dots,” but he said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward.”

Some of the little things we do with children may seem “completely useless”. You never know… during a lifetime, one of those experiences may be just what is needed for connecting some dots. Using Steve Jobs as inspiration, take time to draw, write and learn with children. YOU might find it fascinating!

Starting With a Sketch

Marie Hablitzel started working on Draw-Write-Now, Book 1 in 1992. Barker Creek Publishing was a start-up business and Draw-Write-Now was to be it’s first product. Carolyn Hurst, the owner of Barker Creek and editor of the books, invited Marie to attend meetings with the designer and production people, and since I was Marie’s daughter and Carolyn’s friend, I got to go along. The cover was designed early in the process and four sketches were presented—the farm-scene design was selected.

Marie already had a long list of drawings to complete, so Judy Richardson, the book designer, was given the assignment to draw the cover. Judy presented cover artwork, but Carolyn wasn’t happy with the results—Judy’s drawing style was not like Marie’s. Carolyn and Judy decided to scrap the design and to ask Marie to draw the second-choice design, when I meekly said, “I think I can draw it.” They looked at each other, then turned to me and said, “Okay, do it!” Well, I did it, and my art was used on the cover.

I kept going to meetings and helping Marie in any way I could. At some point before Draw-Write-Now, Book 1 went to press, Carolyn asked Marie to make me her coauthor. Initially, I was hesitant—after all, the lessons came from Marie’s creativity, experience and hard work—but, Carolyn used good business sense. I was able to help with the promotion and production of the book series, plus I knew and understood Marie’s teaching and artistic style like no one else.

Throughout the series, Marie created the lesson drawings, while I did the cover drawings, helped with illustrations and worked on text. Judy continued to oversee the designs elements. Carolyn edited the books and formatted the books, along with the help of several amazing production artists who embraced the 1990’s computer technology. In the end, I think we all realized that the collaboration was perfect!

—Kim Stitzer

UPDATE: May 2014

After 20 years of publishing the Draw-Write-Now series, Barker Creek sold the series to Rainbow Resource Center, Inc. We look forward to working with the Rainbow Resource team!

Draw Write Now, Book 1 front cover sketch and finished cover.

The original cover sketch of Draw Write Now, Book 1 is shown here, next to the finished cover. The sketches shown below were presented as possible covers for Book 1

Draw Write Now cover sketch.
Other Draw Write Now cover sketches.

My child is 10

“My child is 10 and she hates writing.
What can I do to help?”

Focus on drawing and add a little writing on the side! Keep in mind that an older child’s handwriting habits are pretty well ingrained, making changes can take longer. Be patient, have fun and plan to practice regularly and carefully.

Handwriting Practice

Somewhere along the line, your child may have missed some basic skills. Start by gaining an understanding of the progression of language arts skills. Keep this in mind as you draw and write with her. Start with the sample lessons of the swan (Book 1), whale (Book 4) and tiger (Book 7). Keep the practice time short, easing into more writing as her skills improve. Find more lessons in the Draw Write Now books. An older child is able to do any of the lessons in the series, so look at the Table of Contents and select a book that she finds most interesting.

Pencil Grasp

Look at how she holds her pencil. The older the child, the stronger the habits, so don’t expect her grasp to be corrected within a week. Exercises to improve fine motor skills can help.

Posture

She may need help with her posture. Exercises to improve gross motor skills will help.

If your child bristles at the idea of writing practice, drawing may be the thing that motivates her to put a pencil to paper. The skills of handwriting and drawing are similar, so there will be some improvement even if she doesn’t write a word! 

Swan Lesson, Draw-Write-Now 1

Draw Your World: Swan Drawing Lesson from Draw-Write-Now, Book 1.

Draw Your World: Swan Drawing Lesson from Draw-Write-Now, Book 1.

The lessons are simple and clean. This is how the swan lessons appears in Draw-Write-Now, Book 1. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

TEACHING TIPS

Our lessons are flexible and simple. Keep it easy—pick up a lesson and draw! All that is needed is a pencil, eraser, paper and crayons (or a coloring medium of your choice.)

1.) Introduce the Subject

Garner interest in wild or domestic swans with a story, discussion, poem, photos or a song. 

2.) Draw the Subject

Using a pencil, encourage the children to draw the swan lightly, because some lines will be erased (see Step 3.) Use the step-by-step instructions—the red lines—to draw the subject. Throughout the building of the swan, refer to the color drawing, pointing out the shapes and lines.

3.) Draw the Background

Still working in pencil, encourage the children to create their own background for the drawing. If they want to copy what they see in the sample color drawing, that's fine. With time and a little encouragement, their own creativity will take hold.

4.) Practice Writing

See Drawing and Writing Together. Scroll down the list and find where your child fits. Is your child just learning to write letters? Are they able to write, but don't like to practice? Do they need to work on forming paragraphs? Children of varying ages and skill levels can work together during drawing time, and at their own pace during writing time.

5.) Color the Picture

This is the fun time! The child colors their creation. You may notice that the drawings shown in our Gallery are outlined in black. Introduce outlining and see how it helps preserve the details the child has so carefully drawn in pencil. It also makes colors pop!

Practice writing sentences, learning to write letters, or crafting a paragraph.

Practice writing sentences, learning to write letters, or crafting a paragraph.

 

Drawing and Writing Together

Tyler, age 5 — This drawing illustrates an event. Tyler can expand on the story with his voice or with written words.

Tyler, age 5 — This drawing illustrates an event. Tyler can expand on the story with his voice or with written words.

 

Nurture a love of writing.

Teach children to write by simply talking and writing with them after they draw. Drawing motivates a child to practice and actually helps develop their writing skills.

Here's how we do it:

 

Talking

Visual and Verbal

 

Ask the child to tell you about their drawing. Prompt them with questions, such as, "Who is throwing the ball?" "Who is the boy with the bat?" "The fence looks familiar—where is he playing?" 

Some children rarely speak, while others may be very vocal. Talking about a drawing can help both. The quiet child's drawing may become the foundation for a conversation. The talkative child's drawing can be used to help guide and focus their verbal skills.


Pre-Writing

Making the Connection

Demonstrate that the letters people make on paper are the words we speak. Sitting beside the child, ask them to TELL you about their drawing. As they tell you, WRITE their words down, then READ their words back to them, pointing to the words as you read. 

Show them how to write their name.


Letters

Introduce Letters

As the child shares their drawing, show them how to make and pronounce the first letter of the subjects in the drawing. So, if they have drawn a bird, write the letter "b" while pronouncing the letter.  You might even add "fl" for "flying." (Include blended letters, like “th”, "br" "wh".)

Use lower case letters—that's what they will use the most.

Plain paper is fine—there is no need to use guideline paper at this stage.


Words

Introduce Words

When the child shows you their drawing, choose a word and show them how to correctly form and pronounce each letter in a word. "Here's how to write the word "ball"—b-a-l-l." 

 

Spacing—explain that letters are grouped together in a word.

Plain paper is fine.


Sentences

Introduce Sentences

 

After drawing a picture, demonstrate how to write a short sentence, such as “We like to play ball.” Highlight the basic parts of a sentence:

  • The first letter of the first word in a sentence is a capital letter.
  • Spaces separate words.
  • A period is at the end of the sentence.

Introduce guideline or lined paper.


More Sentences

Copy Work, Practice
 

Matthew, age 7 Drawing makes handwriting practice fun!

Matthew, age 7
Drawing makes handwriting practice fun!

Tiger Lesson is in Draw Write Now, Book 7

Tiger Lesson is in Draw Write Now, Book 7

Practice writing two to four short sentences. The sentences can be about their drawing or they can write a memory verse. They are simply copying sentences.

Draw Write Now lessons have four short sentences. The sentences may be changed, but keep them short and simple. The focus is practicing their handwriting skills, not vocabulary, composition or spelling.

Have the child critique their work.

  • Ask them to choose their best letters or words.
  • Point out things they can improve.

There's no need to erase and do over, it is simply a time to become aware for the next time they practice.

Matthew, age 7

Matthew, age 7

Is the child reluctant to practice writing? Work for success, but push them a bit. If you know they can write one sentence, have them write two short sentences. Lesson to lesson, increase the amount of writing.

Use the coloring time as an incentive — remind them that you’ll bring out the crayons (or color pencils, watercolors, etc.) after the sentences are finished.


Composition

Telling a Story

Self-Editing

Encourage the child to write about their drawing. Oftentimes, their background drawing will prompt them to write. 

This is not a time to stress careful handwriting! It is not spelling or vocabulary-time. Let them write. Allow them to focus on their thoughts, story and ideas.

Does the child love to write, but spelling or grammar needs some refining? After writing and reading their story, help them select a few sentences.  Correct any spelling or grammar errors in those sentences.

EXTRA: Have them copy those few corrected sentences onto a fresh sheet of paper using their best handwriting. 


Grammar or Spelling

Exercises

Ask the child to write all the nouns in their drawing (boy, bird, fence, grass, ball.)

Another time, have them write all the verbs (fly, hit, swing, stand, look, throw) or all the adjectives (fast, sunny, happy, green.)

Words that are spelled incorrectly can be added to a spelling list to practice later.


Paragraphs

Focusing

Have the child write a paragraph about the subject in their drawing.

  • Introduce the subject. (The boy loves playing baseball.)
  • Write several sentences to support the introductory sentence. (The first pitch was thrown. He swung and the ball went far into the outfield. He ran so fast around the bases.)
  • Write a closing sentence restating the first sentence. (He wants to play baseball every day of his life.)

Here's how one mom teaches: she brings out the Draw Write Now set of books, announce the theme, such as “spring." Her three boys flip through the books, each choosing a drawing that makes them think of spring—a rabbit, a bird and a boat. They draw their pictures, using it and the springtime context as the prompt for their paragraph.


It is fun to draw and write with a child.


Hold the Pencil

We send this booklet, Hold the Pencil Like This, in every order we ship. Get it with an order or download it now...FREE (pdf, 493 pdf)

It was hard to hold my pencil like this at first, but I kept trying. Now I do it all the time.
— Sarah, first-grade student
It was easy. My daughter changed her grip within two weeks.
— Carol, mom of a 5 year-old


 

Some children easily transition to the Tripod Grasp. For others, it is a challenge to keep the fingers in the tripod position. There are a variety of tools available to help keep the fingers in place. They are temporary tools, much like training wheels on a bicycle. See them in our store.

Training Tools

Training Tools


How hard is it to change the grip?

Easiest

Some children use the tripod grasp naturally. Others may simply need to be shown and encouraged to practice.


Easy

Some children might benefit with a triangular shaped pencil as a little reminder to keep the fingers in a tripod position. Also, there are grippers that slip onto a pencil to make it triangular.

Triangular-shaped pencils help establish the tripod grasp.

Triangular-shaped pencils help establish the tripod grasp.


Extra Training

Grippers with indentations or cups for the fingers help those who have a hard time keeping the fingers in place.

Pencil Grippers help keep the fingers in position.

Pencil Grippers help keep the fingers in position.


OLD HABITS

The Twist n' Write Pencil takes a different approach on holding the pencil and helps those who have established a grasp that is harder to change.


 

"The new grip will probably feel uncomfortable at first."

At first, my son said that the pencil with the pencil gripper was uncomfortable. I explained that he was familiar with the other way of holding a pencil and that as he got accustomed to the new grip it would feel better. He used the pencil with the gripper only when we sat down together to draw. I ignored how he held the pencil at other times of the day.

After about six weeks, during a time when he was drawing on his own, I noticed that he held his pencil (no gripper) using the tripod grip. I said, “Look how you are holding your pencil.” He looked down at his hand and said, “I didn’t mean to do it!” We practiced together with the gripper a few more weeks, until he realized that he really didn’t need it anymore.

The gripper was temporary—like using training wheels on a bike.
— Kim Stitzer, mother of a five year-old

Whale Lesson, Draw-Write-Now 4

Draw Write Now, Book 4: Whale lesson

Draw Write Now, Book 4: Whale lesson

The lessons are simple and clean. This is how the swan lessons appears in Draw-Write-Now, Book 1. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

TEACHING TIPS

Our lessons are flexible and simple. Keep it easy—pick up a lesson and draw! All that is needed is a pencil, eraser, paper and crayons (or a coloring medium of your choice.)

1.) Introduce the Subject

Garner interest in the blue whale and the animals and people who live in the polar regions with a story, discussion, poem, photos or a song. 

2.) Draw the Subject

Using a pencil, encourage the children to draw the whale lightly, because some lines will be erased (see Step 3.) Use the step-by-step instructions—the red lines—to draw the subject. Throughout the building of the whale, refer to the color drawing, pointing out the shapes and lines.

3.) Draw the Background

Still working in pencil, encourage the children to create their own background for the drawing. If they want to copy what they see in the sample color drawing, that's fine. With time and a little encouragement, their own creativity will take hold.

4.) Practice Writing

See Drawing and Writing Together. Scroll down the list and find where your child fits. Is your child just learning to write letters? Are they able to write, but don't like to practice? Do they need to work on forming paragraphs? Children of varying ages and skill levels can work together during drawing time, and at their own pace during writing time.

5.) Color the Picture

This is the fun time! The child colors their creation of the Blue Whale. You may notice that the drawings shown in our Gallery are outlined in black. Introduce outlining and see how it helps preserve the details the child has so carefully drawn in pencil. It also makes colors pop!

Practice writing sentences, learning to write letters, or crafting a paragraph.

Practice writing sentences, learning to write letters, or crafting a paragraph.

Handwriting Styles

Which handwriting style should your child learn?

Teaching a child to write their name and first words is fun and easy, but before you get too far along, be aware that there are a variety of handwriting styles.

Four children wrote the word "Tiger." They were all taught the same handwriting style.

Four children wrote the word "Tiger." They were all taught the same handwriting style.

Ask Your Local School

Primary or elementary schools agree on one handwriting style to teach—at least they should. If your preschool child is eager to write or your child is already attending school, but you don't know which style is used, contact the local school office and ask.

Homeschooling

Homeschool parents—you get to decide! It's nice to find a style that appeals to each child, but I've found that it makes sense to stick to one style for the family.

The Left-Handed Child

With any handwriting style, there is a slight modification that can help a left-handed child write more smoothly. It's simple—pull the pencil toward the hand when making horizontal lines. For example, a right-handed writer crosses the letter “t” from left to right. For the left-handed, the letter is crossed from right to left. The following letters are affected:

Lowercase letters: t, f
Capital letters: A, E, F, H, I, J, T.

Manuscript Only?

Handwriting styles are designed with a manuscript (print) and a cursive (linked) form. Progressing to the cursive or linked form is the goal, as it is the quicker or more fluid form of handwriting. Today, many children get handwriting instruction and practice for only a few years at best and may not get instruction in cursive. I encourage teachers and parents to include regular handwriting practice into sixth grade. Keep practice time short—ten to fifteen minutes. For older children, practice time may be only once a week.

Begin with Cursive?

Yes, it is fine to start in cursive, and most children love it. When Marie was a child in the 1920’s, all her handwriting was in cursive. Manuscript was introduced later and used for labeling maps or posters.

A handwriting style is a carefully designed, efficient way of forming letters and numbers.

Each style has it’s own character or fits certain needs. There is no "correct" handwriting style—although publishers of handwriting programs or language arts programs might feel that theirs is the best! A handwriting chart or some other reference on how letters are formed (letter cards with the starting points and arrows, alphabet strips, iPad app) is a good reference tool to have available.

Simply be aware of letter formation and model it for your children or students. When given no instruction or example to follow, bright children can come up with some terribly awkward and cumbersome ways of making letters!


Oh, So Unique!

Whichever style is chosen, the personality of each child's handwriting is evident. 

One child may space letters wide. Another might slant their letters less than the child sitting next to them. Some tend toward narrow lettering. Then, there are those who have a confident flow to their writing. 

Our uniqueness shows in our handwriting. We all develop a style.

Training and Practice

Handwriting programs have instructions and books and gadgets and apps. For many people, it is not necessary or practical. The main thing is to help the child memorize the letter formation (there are many fun ways to do this) and have clear standards and expectations for their practice time.

These first and second-grade children learned to write together. The papers are from the end of their school year.

These first and second-grade children learned to write together. The papers are from the end of their school year.

Amanda's writing is wide.

Amanda uses wide spacing in her words and letters.

Joshua's writing has almost no slant.

Joshua's writing has a slight slant.

Tyler's letters are narrow.

Tyler has narrow letters.

Elisa's writing flows.

Elisa shows a confident flow to her writing.

Examples of Handwriting Styles

 

A handwriting style is a carefully designed, efficient way of forming letters and numbers. Each style has it’s own character or fits a certain need. The most common styles are shown here.

 
New American Cursive, handwriting style

New American Cursive, handwriting style

New American Cursive

I like New American Cursive. This form of cursive is simple and clean. The child learns to write using cursive—they start with cursive. There is no manuscript form, although, the capital letters F, Q, T, and Z are made like manuscript capital letters. Another option would be to start a child with Zaner-Bloser Continuous Stroke Cursive.

Cursive — New American Cursive


Handwriting Without Tears, Printing - Handwriting Style

Handwriting Without Tears, Printing - Handwriting Style

Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive - Handwriting Style

Handwriting Without Tears, Cursive - Handwriting Style

Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears is a simplified style, without a slant, and has a rather blocky feel to it. Developed by an occupational therapist, the program includes many tactile products for writing readiness and an app for memorizing letter form. It is popular in the United States, but I find it too simple. It is not beautiful and the cursive doesn't flow.
Printing - Handwriting Without Tears
Cursive - Handwriting Without Tears


Modern Manuscript (D'Nealian) - Handwriting Style

Modern Manuscript (D'Nealian) - Handwriting Style

Modern Cursive (D'Nealian) - Handwriting Style

Modern Cursive (D'Nealian) - Handwriting Style

Modern Manuscript and Cursive (D'Nealian)

Modern Manuscript (D'Nealian) starts with slanted manuscript letters with the intent to transition easily to cursive writing. As in cursive writing, the lower case manuscript letters are made with one continuous stroke and most have "tails" (see the letter "a".) Modern Manuscript gained popularity in school districts in the United States in the late 1980's. Some find it challenging to teach (the program includes auditory instructions) and dislike the manuscript "b" and "k." I like it, but tend to teach it with modifications.

D’Nealian - manuscript and cursive chart
D’Nealian - manuscript only


SIMPLE Zaner-Bloser Manuscript - Handwriting Style

SIMPLE Zaner-Bloser Manuscript - Handwriting Style

SIMPLE Zaner-Bloser Cursive - Handwriting Style

SIMPLE Zaner-Bloser Cursive - Handwriting Style

Zaner-Bloser Continuous Stroke (Simple)

 This style is neither too challenging or too simple. Zaner-Bloser was the dominant handwriting style in the United States until Modern Manuscript (D’Nealian) gained popularity and this “continuous stroke” or “simplified” Zaner-Bloser was introduced. The continuous stroke applies to the manuscript letters—the pencil is not lifted to form a letter, as with the original Zaner-Bloser style. The cursive was simplified and most notable, the letter "Q" was changed to look like a letter "Q" instead of an odd number "2." Continuous Stroke makes sense—it is the closest thing to how Marie taught manuscript letter formation. When she taught cursive to first-graders, she used A Beka — that's what the private school chose.
manuscript - uppercase & lowercase


Zaner-Bloser Manuscript, Handwriting Style,

Zaner-Bloser Manuscript, Handwriting Style,

Zaner-Bloser Cursive, Handwriting Style

Zaner-Bloser Cursive, Handwriting Style

Palmer Manuscript, Handwriting Style

Palmer Manuscript, Handwriting Style

Palmer Cursive, Handwriting Style

Palmer Cursive, Handwriting Style

Zaner-Bloser (Original) & Palmer

The original Zaner-Bloser style and the Palmer style are not used as much now.

manuscript - uppercase
manuscript - lowercase
cursive - uppercase
cursive - lowercase
Spanish


Peterson Handwriting

Peterson includes a transition between printing and cursive—it's called Slant Print. I don't have a sample to show here, but did include links to the site. Peterson's theme is "the difference is rhythm." The cursive letters end without a curve, much like the Italic styles. This program includes a depth of information, prompts and help. It seems like a lot of work, to me. 
Print
Slant Print
Cursive


Italic Handwriting Styles


Italic is so lovely and appealing! There are a variety: Portland Italic, Barchowsky, New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland.
Italic charts (click “Chart” in the left-hand column)
Barchowsky Fluent

Handwriting Style, Italic
Handwriting Style, Italic
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Handwriting Style, New South Wales
Handwriting Style, New South Wales
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Handwriting Style, Queensland
Handwriting Style, Queensland
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Handwriting Style, Victorian
Handwriting Style, Victorian
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Make handwriting practice fun. Startwrite Handwriting Software loads most of the popular handwriting styles on your computer, so you can create custom practice sheets.

Make handwriting practice fun. Startwrite Handwriting Software loads most of the popular handwriting styles on your computer, so you can create custom practice sheets.