If you want to get better at something, you have to practice.
Practice is the key to improving motor skills, especially in a skill as refined as handwriting. While it would also seem to make sense to build core strength, address perceptual dysfunction, develop in-hand manipulation skills and heighten kinesthetic awareness, research shows that these components do not have the same level of impact as direct skill instruction, verbal feedback and practice, practice, practice.
But there are ways to make practice fun, repetition meaningful and carryover possible.
In the Size Matters Handwriting Program, dice are used to determine practice. I like to tell children to select a die that is calling their name. Then I show them a container of 4-sided, 6-sided, 8, 10, 12 and 20-sided dice. The dice are speckled, marbleized, iridescent and translucent. They are small and large, numbered and with pips. Some are in Spanish and some in Roman Numerals. In a word, they’re adorable. To be honest, if you have any dice in your homes or schools, they’re adorable, too.
More important is that your kids are given a say in their practice. Research shows that when children are included in the decision-making, they work more willingly and longer. It can come down to the mere roll of the dice. Whatever your child rolls is the number of times s/he must print a Star-Worthy letter… and we have to accept it. Even if it’s a one.
The fact that we, as the adults and teachers, have to respect a child’s dice roll is extremely empowering. It helps the children own their practice. And it is this ownership that feeds the Buy-In.
Game-like. Motivating. Achievable. Realistic.
So appealing is the Dice Game that when children hear the subtle clicking of die during any writing assignment, they start thinking Letter Size. No matter where. No matter when.
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Let the singing and dancing begin!
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