Tracing, your magic bullet

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One skill at a time
The hand needs to get used to the writing movements of italic. Tracing a model can help.

Learning to write involves two tasks. One is to remember how to make the letters. The other is to control the hand. It isn’t necessary to think about both at the same time. Instead, the lettershapes can be traced while giving full attention to training the hand.

How to trace

In the beginning, it’s easy.

If you lose your way, stop immediately.

Move the pen sideways, and go on.

Start by tracing zigzags until you make them without effort. Then trace words. When you’re getting used to new movements, five minutes of tracing are usually worth ten of writing.

Some children need a lot of tracing exercises before they can start to write. They need to be reminded regularly not to hurry. Speeding kills. Filling page after page is not the objective.

Small diversions
Exercises without concentration aren’t much use. Children can quickly lose interest. Keeping their attention is important. Sometimes you can turn the work into a game.

Teeth in combs and saws make easy zigzag exercises. Many others suggest themselves, such as grinning crocodiles and worried hedgehogs. Making "connect-the-dots" pictures also helps.

If other things fail, try calling in the Martians. The page on hand control has more about them.