Handwriting Quick Check Self-Assessment List

handwriting self assessment checklist

This handwriting checklist is a great handwriting assessment for kids to use when writing. Many times working on handwriting skills leads to frustration when kids struggle to carryover writing skills from occupational therapy sessions. This writing self-assessment can help!

When kids have been introduced to different techniques for beating their handwriting blahs, been provided with accommodations for handwriting difficulties, and even provided with modifications to written work requirements, a quick check can help with legibility.  A child can use this quick check list to self-monitor and self-check their handwriting for neatness.  

This activity is part of our month-long handwriting series where we are sharing creative and easy ways to address common handwriting issues in our 30 Easy Quick Fixes for Better Handwriting series.  

You’ll also want to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Help Facebook group where you can find support and resources for handwriting.   

Handwriting Self-Assessment Checklist

A self-checklist should have questions to monitor letter formation, size, spacing, line awareness, upper case and lower case letter formation/size, letter positioning, speed, neatness, and legibility.   

Self-analysis involves retrospection and an awareness of self, as well as the actions that one performs. This handwriting analysis observations post explains a bit more.

Print this checklist out for classroom use.  It is available as an 8x 10 inch Free printable here.

This is a printable that can be printed and laminated for use at the student’s desk. Allow them to use a dry erase marker and check off each item after a handwriting task. Use the printable with the whole classroom, too!

 
Kids can self-monitor their handwriting with this quick self-checklist for home and in the classroom.
 

You can find all of our handwriting posts here.

You’ll also love this cursive handwriting assessment checklist.

Handwriting Self-Assessment Quick Tip:
Print off the printable in a sized down format to create a smaller, wallet sized check list that can be stored in pencil boxes or in the front of a binder.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:
Encourage kids to use both hands when writing! The dominant hand should always be the pencil holder, BUT that other hand has a job too. Holding and moving the paper with the non-dominant hand has an important job in written work. Read more about paper placement and using the helper hand during written work.

handwriting self assessment checklist

Free Handwriting Assessment Checklist

Handwriting checklists can include questions the student asks themselves after a writing task. They can look back over their work and self-assess the writing. Handwriting checklists can include questions such as:

  • Am I writing my letters like we practiced?
  • Am I writing on the lines?
  • Am I spacing between letters and words?
  • Are my upper case letters bigger than my lower case letters?
  • Do my tall letters touch the top line?
  • Do my tail letters fall below the bottom line?
  • Am I taking my time?
  • Can I read my writing?
  • Did I start at the left margin an stop at the right margin?

For another version of a handwriting assessment that is used as a handwriting checklist when completing written work, grab this printable resource in our Handwriting Printables series. The printable handout is great for using with kids to work on self-assessment of written work.

Join our Handwriting printables series to access this and five other handwriting worksheets.

handwriting handouts

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Writing Activities for Reluctant Writers

Writing activities for reluctant writers

Motivating kids to write can be a challenge. For kids that HATE to write, meaningful and motivating is key! These writing activities for reluctant writes will make handwriting fun so that kids can work on the skills they need to work on.

Practice writing?  “But Mom! I don’t like to write!”  Sound familiar?  Many kids (Many, many!) just aren’t into practicing their handwriting at home.  School and homeschooling can be exhausting for kids when they have to do certain topics that they just aren’t interested in.  And handwriting is often one of those topics.  

Hopefully, you’ll find some motivating handwriting activities in today’s post that will help your reluctant writer pick up that pencil and start writing!

Handwriting Ideas for Reluctant Writers

Many kids just aren’t into practicing their handwriting at home. School and homeschooling can be exhausting for kids when they have to do certain topics that they just aren’t interested in. And handwriting is often one of those topics.

Often times, kids balk at having to do repetitive writing. I mean, would you want to write a word or sentence 10 times in a row? Sometimes a functional activity that is meaningful and helpful can motivate a child to want to pick up a pencil. In the end, emphasize handwriting quality over quantity and functional handwriting over perfection.

Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with “non-handwriting” ways to work on handwriting:

Work on Handwriting With Art

Try some of the handwriting through play ideas in our handwriting library.

Motivating Handwriting Activities Quick Tip:
Try using “handwriting toys” to sneak in the handwriting practice in fun ways that seem more like play than writing practice.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:
Using a neutral or extended wrist is so important for pencil grasp, endurance in handwriting, and small motor movements of the fingers in isolation of the wrist. If your student is using a flexed (or bent) wrist, try paper position and placement. Encourage fine motor activities performed on a vertical surface or slanted surface.

.

Functional and meaningful handwriting activities for reluctant writers.  These are motivating activities for kids who don't like to practice handwriting.

Fun and Creative Handwriting Practice Ideas (for kids of all ages!)

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You can throw in the fun colored ink pen for extra smiles from your reluctant writer, but we wanted to share ideas to work on functional skills like handwriting using mainly items you can find around the home. 

Try a few of these fun ideas with your student or child:

  • Write Jokes. Look up jokes in a joke book and write them on index cards.  Send them to a friend in the mail, drop one in a neighbors mailbox (if you know the neighbor and first let them know to expect something in the mail!) or give one to teachers.  Find a buddy who would be interested in exchanging jokes.
  • Write letters to favorite celebrities.  Use those interests and look up addresses to your child’s favorite artist, musician, or sports hero.  Kids can compose a letter and address the envelope.
  • Exchange letters with a pen pal.  Kids can exchange letters with friends and relatives in other states or towns.  Getting mail addressed to themselves is very rewarding for a child.
  • Pass notes.  Write short notes to members of the family.  Leave them in places where they will be found, like on bedroom dressers or in shoes.  Notes might be simple things like, “Don’t forget about soccer practice today.” or fun things like, “Do you want to play checkers?”
  • Plan a scavenger hunt.  Write out hints on slips of paper.  The child can plan the steps and hide notes for family members or friends.
  • Practice letter formation during fun games like Tic Tac Toe.  Instead of x’s and o’s, write printed or cursive letters in the squares.
  • Write your own comic books.  Draw large rectangles on a page for a comic story. Students can draw pictures and write comic bubbles for handwriting practice.
  • Make a creative journal full of creative handwriting ideas.  We did ours with a cursive handwriting, but you could use these ideas for printed handwriting, too.
  • Tape paper to a window and write on the paper.
  • Location, location, location! Change spaces for something fun and different: go to the library and try the tables there.  Write outside with a clipboard.  Where can you go to write that is new and fun?
  • Change positions.  Sit on the floor and write on the chair seat.  Lay on couch cushions and write on the floor on a clipboard. 
  • Take brain breaks.  Every 3-4 minutes, take a mini-break for jumping jacks or wall push-ups.
  • Write to classical music.
Functional and meaningful handwriting activities for reluctant writers.  These are motivating activities for kids who don't like to practice handwriting.

Functional Handwriting for reluctant writers

  Often times, kids balk at having to do repetitive writing.  I mean, would you want to write a word or sentence 10 times in a row?  Sometimes a functional activity that is meaningful and helpful can motivate a child to want to pick up a pencil.  Try some of these functional handwriting tasks:  

  • Write out the family grocery list.  
  • Write your family’s return address on bills.
  • Write out a family calendar with sports schedules, outings, and family night events.
  • Write out the phone messages from an answering machine.  
  • Write out the day’s schedule on a weekend day.
  • Write out favorite television shows.  Add the day, and time of each show.
  • Write out a holiday or birthday gift wish list.
  • Write out a list of items to pack for vacation.  Include little squares next to each item to check off as items are packed.
  • Practice forming letters and words in shaving cream.
  • Sensory writing without a pencil.
  • Write words on a foam tray.

Toys for Reluctant Writers 

Looking for more ways to help your reluctant writer get more “into” writing?  These toys, tools, and games will inspire and encourage your child to want to pick up the writing tool and play.  

The best thing is, they won’t even realize they are practicing handwriting and doing “work”!  While these tools and toys are not free, they are ideas to try.  If you have family asking for gift ideas, you might want to pass a few of these ideas along.  Here’s to writing and loving it!

Toys and game ideas for kids who are reluctant writers, and "hate" handwriting.
  • Kids love a dry erase board and this Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center will be fun for them to practice letter formation and writing. 
  •  The Crayola Dry-Erase Activity Center Zany Play can be a fun way to practice individual letter formation. Ask your child to practice letters in each box. Kids can also work on starting/stopping the writing tool on the dots, which is great pencil control practice and needed for handwriting legibility. 
  •  Writing on this Crayola See Thru Light Designer is bright and colorful and a great way to really work on letters while your child is captivated by the light animations and color effects. 
  •  For students who love to draw (or have a slight interest in drawing), this Crayola Light Designer will be a huge hit. Even though they will not be writing letters and words, kids can draw with the writing tool to create 3D images of their drawings.  This is a motivating tool for reluctant writers, and beneficial for pencil control and dexterity, helpful in handwriting. 
  •  For kids who say “I can’t think of anything to write!” (sound familiar?) This creative storytelling game, Rory’s Story Cubes, will be a fun way to inspire. Play the game and write out stories as a family. This sounds like a great Family Night activity! 
  •  Make writing fun with Washable Window Chalk Markers by writing on windows, glass, and mirrors.
  • Completing mazes are a great way to practice pencil control, line awareness in handwriting. 
  •  Try a maze book like this Extreme Mazes with your reluctant writer. 
  • Mad Libs Game is a great way to practice handwriting on lines and in smaller spaces. For kids who can not write as small as needed to write in the book, use a piece of paper for filling in the answers. 
  •  The handwriting practice that kids get with a Spirograph is big: Pen control, bilateral hand coordination, and proprioceptive feedback. Creating these fun art pieces are motivating and fun!
Handwriting ideas for reluctant writers.

Free Worksheet- Ideas for Reluctant Writers

Want to print off a list of handwriting ideas for reluctant writers to send home with your therapy caseload? Now you can add this list to your therapy toolbox! Join us in the free, 5 day email series where you’ll get this free 2 page list of writing ideas for reluctant writers. You’ll also access other handwriting handouts to cover areas of handwriting issues.

Click here to join the free 5 day Handwriting printables series.

handwriting handouts

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

 

What are Visual Spatial Relations

spatial relations activities

Visual Spatial Relations is an important visual perceptual skill that is important for many functional tasks.  Spatial relations allows the organization of the body in relation to objects or spatial awareness.  This is an important part of spatial awareness in handwriting and many other movement-based activities.  An important part of visual spatial relations includes laterality and directionality. In general, these spatial relationship terms refer to left-right body awareness and the ability to perceive left/right relationship of objects. 

Spatial Relations is being aware of oneself in space. It involves positioning items in relation to oneself, such as reaching for items without overshooting or missing the object. Most of us realize as we walk through a doorway that we need to space ourselves through the middle of the door.

Some with poor visual spatial skills may walk to closely to the sides and bump the wall. It also involves the fine motor tasks of coordinating handwriting with writing in spaces allowed on paper, placing letters within an area (lines), and forming letters in the correct direction.

What are spatial relations?

Spatial relations, or visual spatial awareness, refers to an organization of visual information and an awareness of position in space so the body can move and perform tasks. Spatial relations are needed for completing physical actions, moving in a crowded space, and even handwriting.

More examples of spatial relations

Knowing which shoe to put on which foot.  Understanding that a “b” has a bump on the right side.  Putting homework on the left side of the take home folder before putting books into a locker beside the gym bag.  Visual spatial relations are everywhere!

Here are more everyday examples of spatial relations at work:

  • Letter formation and number formation
  • Writing letters without reversal
  • Reading letters without reversal
  • Sports
  • Completing puzzles
  • Walking in a crowded hallway without running into others
  • Standing in line without bumping into others
  • Left/right awareness
  • Understanding spatial reasoning concepts such as beside/under/next to/etc
  • Reading without losing one’s place
  • Copying written work with appropriate spatial awareness
  • Reading maps  

Visual spatial skills in occupational therapy activities are an important skill.  

Visual Spatial Skills and Handwriting

Spatial relations, and the ability to organize physical movements related to visual information impacts handwriting.

You might be thinking: “Movement and handwriting!? What?? I want my kiddo to sit still and copy his homework into his planner without wiggling all over the desk!”

Ok, ok. Here is the thing: We are asking our kids to write way to early. Preschoolers are being given paper with lines and are asked to write their name with correct letter formation. Kids are being thrown into the classroom environment with expectations for legible written work an they are missing the necessary basics.

When kids are not developing the skills they need to hold a pencil, establish visual perceptual skills, and organize themselves, they are going to have struggles in handwriting.

NOTE: There are a few other baseline tools that kids need in order to establish a base for better handwriting. Fine motor experiences, positioning, attention are just a few of these areas.

Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with spatial relations in written work:

  1. Read this resource on hand dominance and laterality.
  2. Then check out this post on what you need to know about writing with both hands.
  3. Finally, check out this movement activity for direction following that involves spatial relations.

These resources are all connected and can impact spatial relations skills!

Another resource is this post on Hand Aerobics and Fine Motor Skills Needed in the Classroom

You can find all of our handwriting posts here.

Spatial Relations Quick Tip:
Write a letter on the student’s back using a finger or a pencil eraser. Ask the student guess what letter it is. Then, ask the child to air write the letter. (While holding a pencil, with large motion, whole arm motions AND very small with just the fingers!) Finally have him write the letter on paper.

  • These activities all require the ability to perceive an object in space.  The way they interpret position in space to their body and to other objects in the environment impacts motor skills.    
  • Spacing pieces of a puzzle amongst the others and writing in relation to the lines is one way to work on this skill.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:
Encourage pinching activities. So many kids are exposed to screen technology from a young age. Screen interaction uses the pointer finger in isolation or just the thumb. These digits become strong and a dynamic pencil grasp is limited. Promote strengthening of the intrinsic muscles by pinching clay or tearing and crumbling small bits of paper. Read more about intrinsic muscle strengthening here.

What are visual spatial relations and how are visual relationships and visual concepts needed for functional tasks?

Spatial Relations Activities

Try these movement-based spatial relations activities to work on the visual spatial skills needed for writing and completing everyday tasks:

  • Create a paper obstacle course. Draw obstacles on paper and have your child make his /her pencil go through the obstacles.
  • Draw circles, holes, mud pits, and mountains for them to draw lines as their pencil “climbs”, “jumps”, “rolls”, and even erases!
  • Create an obstacle course using couch cushions, chairs, blankets, pillows to teach left/right/over/under.
  • Write words and letters on graph paper. The lines will work as a guide and also a good spacing activity.
  • Use stickers placed along the right margin of to cue the student that they are nearing the edge of paper when writing.
  • Highlight writing lines on worksheets.
  • Draw boxes for words on worksheets for them to write within.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Practice directions. Draw arrows on a paper pointing up, down, left, and right. Ask your child to point to the direction the arrow is pointing. The child can say the direction the arrows are pointing. Then create actions for each arrow. Up may be jumping. Down may be squatting. The Left arrow might be side sliding to the left, and the Right arrow might be a right high kick. Next, draw more rows of arrows in random order. Ask your child to go through the motions and try to go faster and faster.
 
 
This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations. Teaching Spatial Concepts to Preschoolers and Toddlers through play. Over, under, around, and through and their need in functional tasks like shoe tying and handwriting. Visual Perception and spatial awareness in kids.  What is Spatial awareness and why do kids have trouble with spacing between letters and words, reversing letters, and all things vision.  Great tips here from an Occupational Therapist, including tips and tools to help kids with spacing in handwriting. What is spatial awareness?  Tips and tools for handwriting, reading, scissors, and all functional skills in kids and adults, from an Occupational Therapist.
 
 

Other activities to incorporate spatial relations include:

Try these other activities that challenge visual spatial relations:

Movement and spatial relations worksheet to improve spatial awareness in kids

Free Movement and Handwriting Worksheet

Today’s free printable shares movement based activities to help kids improve their spatial relations. These are the skills kids need to write legibly. It includes tips and activities to improve spatial relations, that were mentioned above. This free handout is a great resource to add to your occupational therapy toolbox.

You will receive this handout when you join the Handwriting Tips and Tricks series. Each day over the course of 5 days, you’ll receive a free handwriting worksheet to use in addressing common handwriting issues.

Join the free handwriting series!

handwriting handouts

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Fix Spacing in Handwriting (Free Handout)

spacing in handwriting handout

Working to fix spacing in handwriting so the kids you serve can write legibly? Spatial awareness is a huge means to improving legible written work. Sometimes having a few strategies to actually improve the spacing between letters and words is so beneficial for accuracy and carryover in handwriting.

Today, I have another free handwriting handout as part of our handwriting tips and tricks series. If you’ve already signed up for this series, you have the free worksheet in your inbox. This is the space to access more spacing in handwriting resources and tools to help with spacing between letters and words for legible written work.

Free spacing in handwriting handout that includes tips for improving spacing between words and letters in written work.

Fix Spacing in Handwriting

Spatial awareness is a powerhouse when it comes to legibility in written work. The child who forms letters with award formation no matter how many times you teach them that letters start at the top can increase overall legibility by spacing out words on the lines.

However, spacing between letters and words can be difficult when visual motor integration is an issue. Modifications and adaptations can help.

For those kiddos who have zero awareness of organization on the page and start at the middle of the paper or don’t seem not notice space constraints on a worksheet will definitely benefit from spatial awareness tips and tricks.

Here are a few easy ways to fix spacing in handwriting:

  1. Use graph paper
  2. Use a highlighter for writing words
  3. Use a small dot (colored pencil) to space between words
  4. Use a spacing tool. Kids can make their own (check out the spacing tools listed below) to help with carryover and use.
  5. Highlight margins
  6. Use boxes for words or letters. This blog post shows how to set up boxes for spacing between letters and words.
  7. Encourage the child to use a “finger space” between words and physically place their finger on the paper. This incorporates bilateral coordination and holding the paper when writing.
  8. Use stickers placed along the right margin of to cue the student that they are nearing the edge of paper when writing.
  9. Draw a red stop sign at the right margin.
  10. Graph paper Try 1/2 inch wide rule first.
  11. Raised line paper
  12. Slant board
  13. Try smaller width of lines instead of primary paper.
  14. RediSpace paper has a green line along the left margin and a red line along the right margin.

Fix Spacing between words with a spacing tool

There are many spacing tools on the market, but when kids are involved in the creation process, they are likely to use the item in handwriting tasks. We’ve made several spacing tool crafts here. Try these ideas:

Why Spacing between words is important

Spacing between letters and words is one of the easiest ways to improve overall legibility in written work. Why? There are a few reasons…

When letter formation is difficult for children, letters can appear sloppy or hard to discriminate from one another. This can make reading back written work difficult for children. Spacing between words can create white space that makes it easier to read sloppy or poorly formed letters. Those that struggle with handwriting challenges such as dysgraphia or dyslexia, fine motor challenges, sensory issues, motor planning challenges, correct formation of letters can be quite difficult. Spacing between words helps to improve overall legibility.

Spacing helps when line use is a challenge. Some children struggle with the visual perceptual skills needed to write on lines. Other contributors to poor line use may include pencil control challenges, motor planning issues, fine motor skill development, or difficulties visual motor skills. When any of these challenges exist, placing letters correctly on the lines, below the lines can impact legibility. Addressing spacing between letters and words can help with readability of written work.

Spacing helps with letter size issues. Similarly to the concept of line use, sizing of letters is important. When sizing is incorrect or inconsistent, children may fill the entire space with their letters. They may make all of the letters the same size or use quick writing speed which impacts legibility and results in large letters. Adding more space between words can help with reading this written material.

Addressing spacing issues allows others to read one’s handwriting. Teachers and parents can agree that when handwriting is illegible, there are difficulties with learning. Kids struggle to read their notes or homework list. Others might not be able to read back over what they’ve written making studying for quizzes and tests a challenge. Students may miss questions on exams or homework assignments when legibility is an issue. All of these issues can impact learning of information and grades.

For more information, you’ll want to check out all of our handwriting posts here.

Spatial Awareness Quick Tip:

Make a spacing tool that can be used while your child is writing words and sentences. It can be as easy as a popsicle stick or even the child’s finger. Show them how to place the spacing tool between words and sideways between letters.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:

Help kids to develop and strengthen the skills needed for improved pencil grasp with fine motor experiences. Encourage flexion of the thumb IP joint (bending the tip of the thumb). Thumb IP joint motion during handwriting helps with pencil control and positioning in the hand. Check out this resource on improving pencil grasp through play, or this massive Pencil Grasp Bundle for activities and tools to impact pencil grasp, motor planning, and fine motor skills.

Spacing in Handwriting Handout

Want tips and tricks to work on spacing in handwriting in a handout form? This free resource is a spacing worksheet that can be used to develop spacing awareness skills in written work. Use the handwriting strategies listed on the handout in educating parents, teachers, or other therapists on the needs of a child.

This free spacing worksheet lists the strategies we covered above and can be a great addition when making suggestions for specific spacing needs. To access this free handout, join the Handwriting Tips and Tricks series…5 days of free handouts and information on all things legible written work!

Head to Handwriting Occupational Therapy Tips and Tricks to sign up. You’ll receive 5 free handwriting handouts related to aspects of written work: spacing, sizing, line use, letter formation, and more. Each day for 5 days, a free handwriting printable is delivered to your inbox.

handwriting handouts

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Line Awareness Activities

alinement in handwriting and writing lines activities

Here, you will discover line alignment resources and line awareness activities to promote accurate use of writing lines. Line awareness is a handwriting skill occupational therapists often address to promote functional written work and legibility in handwriting, by offering raised line paper and other handwriting strategies. Let’s talk line use!

Line Awareness Activities

Line awareness refers to placement of the letters accuratley on the writing lines. When we form letters, there are differnet letter sizes that are placed in different positions within the lines of the paper:

  • Letters that touch the top and bottom lines (b, d, f, h, k, l, t, and all upper case letters)
  • Letters that touch the bottom line (all upper case and all lower case letters)
  • Letters that cross the bottom line (g, j, p, q, y)
  • Letters that touch the middle line (or middle space if using single rule paper: a, c, e, g, i, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z)

Line use allows for proper letter sizing and formation. Together these three aspects play an important role in legibility of written work.

Other aspects of line use refers to margin awareness or stopping writing before reaching the edge of the paper or writing area, and use of the left margin, or writing lists.

Typically, difficulties with line awareness are a result of visual processing problems. Visual processing skills that impact line use include: visual scanning, visual closure, visual discrimination, form constancy, eye-hand coordination, and visual motor integration.

Poor use of Writing Lines

Line awareness is a common struggle for many kids. You might know a child who writes with letters floating up over the lines, shows little regard to lines, or is inconsistent with line use. They might make letters of various sizes and write letters super big so that written work looks completely illegible and sloppy. Writing on the lines and using appropriate size awareness is an issue when visual motor integration skills are difficult for a child.

Perceiving visual information such as lines and available writing areas and then coordinating the motor movement needed to place letters accurately can lead to a lot of areas for legibility breakdown.  

A child turns in an assignment and the letters are written all over the paper. They started out writing pretty neatly. But then, as they thought out their creative writing prompt, you see the words and letters dropping below the lines. Some of the letters are too big and even are scooting up into the letters on the line above. All of these are examples of poor line awareness.

Many times, kids are working on neatness in handwriting due to letters being written all over the page with little regard to placement on the lines.  You might see kids writing with sloped arrangement as the words drift down over the lines or you might see younger kids who are making lower case letters the same size as the tall or upper case letters.  

They might write as if they don’t even see the lines on the paper.    

For older kids, they might not be able to go back over notes and understand what they’ve written in class.   

Line awareness is often times an area that kids need to work on when there are difficulties with legibility in handwriting.   

How can a child write neatly on lines of lined paper or worksheets when the letters drop below the lines?  As teachers and parents, it can become difficult to read their writing.  

How to Improve line awareness

There are many modifications that can be made to help with legibility due to trouble maintaining line awareness.  Kids can build the visual perceptual skills needed for line awareness with activities designed to help the child attend to the lines.   

Line use is closely related to spatial awareness that was discussed in yesterday’s email. Try using the tips and strategies in combination.   Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with line awareness and visual motor integration:

Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with line awareness and visual motor integration:

Use Beads to Help with Line Awareness

Motor Control in Handwriting

Line Awareness Quick Tip:
Work on letter formation before requiring students to address line awareness. Children are not developmentally ready to write on lines until between ages 5 and 6.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:
Help kids to improve pencil grasp and pencil control when writing on lines by separating the two sides of the hand. When writing, we NEED a stable base to support the fingers that hold and move the pencil.

Encourage creative play activities that separate the two sides of the hands by tucking a cotton ball into the palm when playing with toys like beads. Here is more info about motoric separation of the two sides of the hand and fun ideas for play.

Activities for Writing Lines

Below, you’ll find fun activities to promote use of writing lines for overall legibility of written work.

 

 
Creative activities to work on line awareness in handwriting
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More Ways to adjust Handwriting Lines:

  • Highlight the base line.
  • Provide bolded lines.
  • Try paper with raised lines.  This is the type I love for Kindergarten and first grade students. This type is recommended for second grade and older.
  • Try using graph paper.
  • For children who need more space on the page, this colored raised lined paper may help.
  • Use a movable baseline that provides a physical “stop” such as a ruler or index card.
  • Use paper designed to address placement on the lines like earth paper.
  • Highlight the bottom half of writing space
  • Trace baseline with bright colored crayon
  • Trace baseline with white crayon for waxy stopping
  • point
  • Marker on the bottom and top lines
  • Bold single lined paper
  • Low Vision Writing Paper
  • High visual contrast bold lined paper
  • Bold raised lined paper (in single space or double space
  • forms)
  • Adjust line height to fit the student’s handwriting
  • Raised Line Paper
  • Use a serrated tracing wheel to create DIY tactile paper
  • Make a stencil from a cereal box
Writing lines activities for occupational therapy handwriting sessions, to improve line awareness.

Want these writing lines tips in printable format? You can get this list in a handout to use in therapy. Just join our 5 day series on Handwriting Tips Printables to access this along with 4 other free handwriting handouts.

Join here, on the Handwriting Tips and Tricks printables series!

handwriting handouts
Creative activities to work on line awareness in handwriting

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Executive Function Activities (at the Beach!)

executive function activities

Executive functioning development is partly learning through experience, and partly trial and error. But did you know you could foster powerful executive function activities through everyday experiences? Here, we’re chatting how to foster executive functioning skills through play…and even at the beach! Add these ideas to improve executive functioning skills this summer.

Executive function activities don't need to be boring. Use these executive function activities at the beach or while on vacation.

Heading out of town on vacation to the beach soon? Check out these cool ways to work on executive functioning while you’re there! Once you get back, get to work on these seashell souvenirs!

Looking for engaging executive functioning activities doesn’t need a trip to the beach. Some of these ideas can be set up in your own backyard. But, if you are going on a vacation or trip this summer, why not use it to foster development of skills through executive functioning activities?

Executive Functioning Activities: Planning and Prioritizing for a Vacation

Trips to the beach can be a great opportunity for families to enjoy some time away! They can also be a fun way to integrate some therapy. Sensory processing, motor skills, executive functioning—the options are endless! Sensory processing and motor skills might seem more obvious than executive functioning. Let’s take a deeper look at a few popular activities at the beach and how they can use executive functioning!

You can start working on executive functioning even before you leave for the trip! These are excellent ways to work on planning and prioritization skills. Especially important in planning for a vacation is the prioritization aspect: when to pack, when to set aside time to wash necessary clothing, making the time to plan out a trip and make reservations can all impact the success of a vacation.

  • Have your child look up the forecast
  • Work on creating a packing list
  • Schedule time to gather needed items
  • Work together to organize vacation items into available bags.

This can be a great way to get them involved! It also challenges their ability to delay gratification, as they will need to wait until it is time to go, even if that is a few days away. Time management will also be necessary so that packing doesn’t take all day!

Executive Function Activities: Build Sandcastles

Kids love building sandcastles! This activity requires a lot of executive functioning skills.

A child needs to use impulse control so that no one gets sand thrown in their eyes and to avoid the castle from being smashed prior to completion.

The child also needs to develop a plan and organize their ideas prior to or as they build in order to get the product they would like.

They need to recall where they put their shovels or buckets, as well as sequence multiple components as they build.

They also need to problem solve, as the sand might not be their desired consistency! Sandcastles—a great, complex way to work on executive functioning!

Executive Function Activities: Skipping Stones

Remember trying to skip stones during calm days on the water? This is another great way to integrate the use of executive functioning skills.

Stones need to meet specific criteria in order to be the best candidates. Or, this can become an area for problem solving or making predictions (foresight) to see what type of stone might skip best.

Certainly, there is a significant amount of impulse control needed in order to ensure safety of others in the area! Work on emotional control through contests of who gets their stone the farthest, especially if a child has difficulty losing.

Don’t have the motor planning or coordination to skip stones? No problem! Toss stones into a pool of water instead.

Boogie boards/knee surfing Executive Function Activity

Boogie boarding or knee surfing can be another activity to work on executive functioning in a hidden way! A child needs to plan their motor movements before they take place, as well as consider timing of waves. Safety awareness will also be important, along with persistence, since this can be a challenging activity!

The beach is a great way to work on a variety of developmental skills, whether sensory processing, motor skills, or executive functioning! Enjoy some of these activities on your upcoming trip and enjoy the benefits of the beach!

Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.