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Learning to Write is something all children have to do even though the pencil is being replaced

By Peter Legrove

Learning to write is a part of growing up. We start off by scribbling and doodling and this helps us to get used to holding a pencil. Most young kids are fascinated by just being able to make a mark on a piece of paper.

The Montessori way of teaching takes this scribbling a step further and uses the child's natural love of drawing to help coordinate the arm and hand to prepare it for writing. This is the first step on the road to learning to write. This scribbling and doodling also helps to strengthen the arm and hand muscles. A number of writing problems are caused by hand strength and go away when the hand is stronger.

When learning to write Montessori also uses sandpaper letters. The alphabet letters are made of sandpaper and when the children trace the words they can feel the texture of the sandpaper. This helps to implant the letters on the child's mind. Even though the learning to write system is very simple it does take time. The more time the parents put in the faster your child will learn to write.

Montessori loves phonics and children do need a background in phonics when learning to write. So with the sandpaper letters, break the words down into phonic sounds so the children can write the phonic sounds they hear.

The problem arises when there are a number of phonic sounds that sound the same but are spelt differently. Now you have to bring in sight words so the children can write the correct word. This all takes time. There is no easy way on the road to learning to write. I was very impressed with the Montessori system and now my daughter writes very well. But cursive or longhand writing seems to be a dying art but learning to write in cursive is relatively easy using the Montessori Method.

With the proliferation of the keyboard and the computer it seems there is no need to start learning to write in cursive. It looks like cursive writing is on the way out with most kids at school just printing in block letters. But it doesn't have to be that way. Learning cursive writing is quite easy and it is easier when your children are in kindergarten.

The Montessori system starts the child on learning how to use a pencil. This way the child is learning to scribble with a pencil to build up hand strength and coordination. Another unique part of the Montessori approach is sandpaper letters. I make up the words my child is learning at school in sandpaper letters and get her to trace the words. The texture of the sandpaper helps to implant the words and letters on your child's mind. When your child in tracing the letters you should get her to say the words and the phonic sounds.

This system of learning to write in cursive is very simple because the child is actually writing the words as she traces the letters, without using a pencil. This sets the muscle coordination so when the child picks a pen she knows how to already write the letters. Most children will start off writing with their finger in the air the same way as tracing the letters before writing with a pencil.

This article is copyright © peter Legrove.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of primary school students trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

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