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Handwriting Skills for Pre-K and K Students
Using Handwriting Without Tears

Jan Olsen - Handwriting Without TearsJan Olsen, a Maryland occupational therapist and educator, is the author of Handwriting Without Tears, the easy way to teach pre-printing, printing and cursive. She is an occupational therapist and handwriting specialist with more than 30 years of experience helping children and training teachers and therapists. She spoke at “Plain Talk About Reading,” a conference on reading held March 27-28, 2006, at SMU.

What are common mistakes in teaching handwriting?

Many people think that handwriting and reading start with the lower case letters. That is wrong. Think of capital letters like you think of a crawling baby, a baby has to crawl before she walks. A child needs time to learn the capital letters. They are doomed in school if they don’t learn the capital letters. Children also need to learn vertical lines first, then horizontal lines.

When is a child ready to use a pencil?

When do you want to give a child a sharp pointed stick? The best way to improve fine motor skills and to develop the correct pencil grip is to give children opportunities to eat a lot of finger foods between birth and age three.

What is the best way to teach handwriting?

When we teach children to tie their shoes, we show them. Writing is the trace left by motion. So the best way to teach children to write is with lots of motion. And children like to move around.

Where could I learn more about Handwriting Without Tears?