This week, we’re going to focus our discussion about handwriting for kids on spacing – making sure kids leave just the right amount of space between their letters and words.
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Have you ever seen kids’ writing where all of the letters and words are piled on top of each other with no spaces at all? Or maybe you’ve seen the opposite: huge gaps and spaces in the middle of words and sentences that don’t make any sense?
It’s one of the most common handwriting issues I see in my OT practice – spacing. Luckily, we have lots of little tricks we use in school based occupational therapy to help support the development of this skill.
Tips for working on spacing
Just as the key to letter formation and construction was lots of supervised practice, spacing takes a lot of practice with an adult present to make sure the tools and strategies are being used consistently and correctly.
Here are some of my favorite tricks to teach spacing when I’m working on handwriting for kids:
–Teach the child to place something down in between each word as he is writing. We often use popsicle sticks, pennies – or even the child’s finger, but you could also use other fun manipulatives for this to make it even more interesting.
–Reviewing a child’s handwriting with him can be very helpful so he can start to identify and correct his own spacing mistakes. I like to go back through a writing assignment with a child and draw smiley faces or place small stickers in each space to see how many “points” they can get (1 point for each smiley face).
-Another strategy I love to use with kids is to read their writing out loud to them. If they’ve forgotten to leave spaces between words, I read it just as it’s written so it sounds jumbled and doesn’t make any sense. My own kiddo at home thinks this is hilarious and I’ve found that it’s a lighthearted way to bring the child’s attention to the fact that his writing won’t make sense without any spaces!
-I love the “Spaghetti and Meatball” handwriting trick from Miss Jamie OT over on the Handwriting With Katherine blog. Creative, hands-on, visually appealing, and fun!
What are your best tricks for teaching kids how to leave adequate space between words and letters?
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