The Birthday Gifts

Mom: Happy Ninth Birthday, Alex!

Alex: Thanks Mom! (Opens a small present.) Um…like, what am I supposed to do with this?

Mom: It’s a pen. You write with it. It may help you to write in a more grown-up way.

Alex: But…I asked for a soccer ball, or that new computer game, and, like, I can write with a keyboard.

Mom: You write lot of your lessons with a pencil. The pencil is not the problem. I have a really hard time reading and grading your papers. That last math problem was just that, a problem! I thought the new pen might inspire you to clean up your handwriting.

Alex: Aw, Mom!

Mom: I even bought a great, new handwriting program to help.

Alex: Well, I’ll try.

Mom: Promise?

Alex: Yeah.

Mom: You know, there’s a reward. Maybe not a computer game, but your grades will go way up.

Alex: Yeah, how?

Mom: If I can read all the letters and numbers you write, then you will get the good grades intelligent, creative Alex deserves. Let’s get started. Oh Alex! The best part is that with this program you practice just ten minutes a day. You can toss those old workbooks that you said are so boring. Instead, some of your practice could be writing about soccer.

Alex: OK! I have an idea. My friend Zach keeps a journal. I’ll do that too, and draw one of my pictures on the cover. Then I’ll have a birthday present for him: from A to Z!

Mom: Oh, that would be cool; it’s a great idea.

Alex: Mom, improving my handwriting may not be such a bad deal. You did say just ten minutes a day? Can I have weekends off?

Mom: Sure thing! (Maybe if he does this journal, something that is his own idea, he will get extra, productive practice anyway.)

Alex: Y’know,  like, I like to draw. Do you think I could make like cartoons? Y’know, there are like balloons with like messages in them. Could that like, be part of my practice?

Mom: Fabulous idea! Did you know, lots of famous cartoonists use pen and ink only? (I’ll forgive him this once for “like” and “y’know.”)

Reaching out to a child of  this age can be tough, especially when a keyboard is available. Keyboard skills are important. Handwriting skills are perhaps even more important. Recent research proves that the brain’s wiring is different for the two actions. Learning the formation of letters and numerals demands more than recognizing keys. Both skills should develop to become automatic.

The short and sweet conversation between Mom and Alex may not go quite so smoothly for you and your child or student, but it’s well worth a try! He or she may see no reason for handwriting improve, even when it’s illegible to that child’s own eyes! Yet, a customized approach goes a long way toward remediation. It can make a task fun.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *