Rx for Handwriting Success

Italic Handwriting: Frequently Asked Questions

I have three children. What is the most economical way for me to teach italic to all three? Do you have any suggestions?

Although having a book for each child is ideal, you might try the following: Let's assume your children are 6, 8 and 10 (first, third and fifth graders). Buy one set of books and start the first grader with book A, allowing him/her to write in the book. The third grader can start in Book B and the fifth grader in Book E. However, instead of allowing the older children to write in their books, buy some tracing paper and have them trace over the models. You might also find the blackline masters useful--these can be duplicated as many times as necessary for your in-home use.

I have a 6 1/2 year old boy who loves to write, but makes some of his letters in a counter-clockwise movement. If this continues, isn't he going to have problems when learning cursive?

Many of the letters are in fact written in a counter-clockwise movement (e.g., a, d, g, q, etc.). Make sure that his direction of strokes is correct according to the models in the book. One way to reinforce this is to let him write the letters in a dish containing cornmeal. This kind of tactile activity will reinforce the correct letter shapes and give you an opportunity to help him correct his movements in a medium that requires no eraser! A desk strip is also very helpful; it keeps the letter shapes in full view, even when the book is closed.

My daughter is in the first grade and, believe it or not, wants to learn cursive now, like the big kids. I've been trying to discourage this, but she seems determined.

As long as your child has mastered the letter shapes there is no reason to keep her from going ahead. Cursive italic is presented at the end of Book C, beginning on page 38. If possible, get her to work through a couple of pages in Book C prior to trying her hand on the cursive joins. Once again, the blackline masters from Book C will be helpful here.

Help! Motivating my young son to write has been a real problem. Do you have any practical suggestions for me?

Here are a few ideas you can try with your son: 1) Practice on blank paper with large felt pens. These come in a variety of bright and stimulating colors. 2) Write with crayons. 3) Write his letters in sand or cornmeal. 4) Have him lay a jump rope down in the shape of the letters and make a game of hopping around the letters. This offers you a great opportunity to help him make the letters and have fun at the same time.

Do you have any special hints about critiquing a child's handwriting? Should I praise even when I see there is room for improvement?

Ask the child to look at the letter and tell you how it's different from the model. Is it wider, taller, thinner, smaller? Are the letters further apart than the model? Never, ever use the word wrong. It is simply different from the model. Encourage the child to assess his/her own writing, with your guidance.

I'm an adult and am very embarrassed by my handwriting. Can I change my handwriting using italic?

Yes. Write Now is easy to follow and designed specifically for adults. Also, get yourself a cursive desk strip and tape it to your desk at home or work. Not only does this serve as a constant reminder, but it also helps you remember the letter shapes. You need to re-train yourself, so don't expect it to happen overnight. Our manager taught herself using this method and it took her approximately 11 weeks to make the change to italic.

Publisher: Getty-Dubay Productions, Portland, OR USA
Distributor: Allport Editions, www.allport.com, 1.800.777.2844, Portland, OR USA

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