Many right-brained children have poor handwriting skills. These children
have difficulty dealing with the individual parts of a letter, remembering
the shape of each letter, and naming the letter once they have written it.
One little boy put it better than I ever could when he said, "By the time I
remember how to draw a circle, I have forgotten where the line goes and I
don't know what I'm writing anyway!"
Whole-letter writing is an alternative way of writing letters in which the
child forms the whole letter without lifting his pencil from the page.
Although there is no set way of forming each letter, the preferred direction
is top to bottom. The following are examples of the letters that seem to
give the children the most problem.
(there then is a set of letters showing directions of flow next to the
letters (of the pencil)):
a b d e g h k m n p r u w y z
There are children who learn beautifully standing up. But sit there
children down and they forget it all. For example, one fifth-grade girl
could take her spelling tests at the chalkboard and get 100%. Sitting down
to take them, she failed every time. From that point on, we had her learn
all of her spelling words and take all of her spelling tests at the
Right-hemispheric children seem to be movers. They sit halfway out of their
seats: they sit with one foot tucked under their behinds. They have to go
to the bathroom more often than anyone else in the class. And they sharpen
their pencils until they are nothing but stubs. They learn while they are
moving and many of them MUST be standing up or moving in order to learn.
The moral of all this, of course, is to get your children out of their seats
and up at the chalkboard. I can recall my own school years. We went to the
chalkboard and we stayed there until we learned our arithmetic. Some days,
I stayed at the board all day, but I did learn arithmetic. And other
children in their seats learned through watching my efforts.
I urge you to try this in your own classroom the next time you teach an
arithmetic lesson. Put your so- called right-hemispheric children at the
chalkboard doing problem;s while your left-hemispheric children are in their
seats working the same problems on paper. You will find that you are
teaching both groups at the same time.
Parents can easily do the same thing at home.