Why am I Writing this Blog?

I am very concerned about the growing level of illiteracy among our children. This blog is for parents who are homeschooling, parents whose children are falling behind at school and they don't know how to help them, teachers who would like to bounce ideas off an experienced teacher or get ideas to help student with problems. I will do everything in my power to help anyone in the areas of reading and writing.

In this blog I'll be using the original English spelling forms, so please make allowances if you're American or have been taught the American spelling form.

Please be understanding about the advertisements on the blog. It gives me the opportunity to earn a little to add to my pension.

Related links for teaching training, lesson plans and worksheets:

Fantastic Free Video series on how to teach handwriting:
by handwriting expert Nan Jay Barchowsky
by handwriting teacher Matt Nisjak

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: http://www.handwritingebooks.com/
101 sheets of lower case and 101 of upper case letters, plus a bonus book on numbers and another on words for $5.95 for the lot - A great bargain.

Information on Education and Homeschooling
EducationBug: Education Directory - articles, directory, newsletter and profiles on schools

Free Worksheets:
Eastside Literacy
First - Schools

Lined Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting For Kids

Making Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting Worksheets
Ed Helper

Videos About Teaching Handwriting:
Teachers TV

Free Lessons and Ideas:
The Electric Company
First 55 Come Alive
Literacy, Families and Learning
ESL Partyland

Ed Helper - Spelling
Ed Helper - Reading Comprehension
Ed Helper - Vocabulary
First - School
Sites for Teachers
Sites for Parents
Clipart for Worksheets
The Teacher's Corner
Teaching Made Easier
School Express

Membership Sites:
Ed Helper
Reading A-Z
ELSIE: Reading 0-6

Inexpensive Handwriting Books
Staidens Homeschooling

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Handwriting Readiness Pt.2 - What are Fine Motor Skills?

We take well developed fine motor skills for granted, but they are required for successfully completing simple tasks such as using a knife and fork, punching a phone number or texting on those tiny mobile phones. threading a needle or sewing, playing most musical instruments, playing computer games, gardening, using tweezers, putting on makeup and even tying your sneakers.

These fine motor skills are basic prerequisites for students to succeed academically. That's why helping children develop finger strength and tactile dexterity is so very important. Of course you can do this after they've tried to write well and failed, but it's much harder to turn a failure in any area into a success, than to put in the preliminary work necessary and go straight to success. The trauma of failure in front of all their peers, is not really something to which we want to introduce our children, in their first year of school.

If you take your child to a play group or preschool they will get some of the activities there, that are needed to develop fine motor skills. Don't, however, count on that!

Boys, especially, would in general, much rather be outside playing cars in the sandpit or climbing on the gym equipment, than sitting inside threading wool through a card or playing with the play dough. The preschool teacher will try to make sure that each child has an equal opportunity to develop both gross and fine motor skills, but don't just rely on that.

As a parent, keep an eye on your child's development. How skillfully does she use her knife and fork, can she tie her shoelaces properly - that doesn't mean eventually. If she need a few tries before she succeeds that's fine, but if she's up to number five or six and she's still not been successful, it may be a sign that she needs to further develop those fine motor skills. Another way to check is by doing some craft with her, where she needs to work with small items and note how nimble her fingers are.

There are so many fantastic activities you can do with your children at home, to help them develop great fine motor control. Some of them are messy, but aren't your kids worth that? If you're worried about the carpet, pick a fine day and take a card table or plastic table cloth outside. Maybe you'll have to move the daily grind around to make time for the activities, but just think of all the time you'll save later on in their lives, when you're trying to explain their homework to them and you're hitting a brick wall because failure has become ingrained in their minds.

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