Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Back when our country was started and few people went to school for more than a few years it was important to learn to write. Gradually types of handwriting developed that actually could tell you what the writer's profession was,secretary, butcher, etc. I've no idea when penmanship started in school but well remember working to perfect those push and pulls and the running tunnel of circles. Then the letters of the alphabet themselves some loope and some retraced.
Actually like the letters themselves these exercises taught us restraint and control. It was much easier then to get the idea of writing when the desk was slightly angled. As long as you grasped the concept of left and right it followed that the front edge of the desk was the top. Now with flat desks and teachers who are likely to point to examples of the alphabet around the room and say your letters should look like these it can be hard for a child to learn to write. So many get little or no help at home from parents too busy or too tired to care.
If properly held the pen or pencil will not cause the hand or arm to become tired or cramped after just a few lines. And some exercises can not only be fun but help the child to learn better. Danielle DuMount in France teaches children with rhythm and fun and they quickly learn they can write after all. She has them hold a ribbon and make patterns such as a running line of small loops, next a running line of tall loops. Then make a short and a tall loop across. Next try this on a chalkboard or paper. Suddenly there is a line of letters which in French is le and a word. A set of short waves, a set of tall waves (or cups), a set of short and tall and suddenly another word, it.
Also this sort of exercise can be a big help in other ways. A series of e's and l's, becausethey are soft and rounded, is relaxing and calming while a series of connected w's (especially the pointed ones tho both work) sharpens the focus of the mind. Never overdo these exercises one line is enough and too much has the opposite effect.

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