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Lost Art

Handwriting seems to be a little bit of a lost art these days since so many folks tend to use a word processor.  I must admit I LOVE using a word processor to quickly jot to-do lists, notes, letters… However, I also know how much it means to me to receive a handwritten letter in the mail. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it takes the personal feeling of yesteryear away. When I receive a handwritten letter, I know the writer took valuable time out of their day to convey something of importance just to me, and that makes me feel special. I try to keep that special feeling in mind when I want to send a letter or note to someone.  Kids are no different. They too love to receive handwritten notes from Mom, Dad, grandma, grandpa, cousins, aunts, uncles…  In order to receive a handwritten note, many times they must first write one. What better incentive to teach them to write notes.  Plus, it makes handwriting worksheets and handwriting practice a little less dull or boring.

Print, D’Nealian, cursive, upper case, lower case, arrows, no arrows, Zaner Bloser, ball and stick, italic … The list seems endless doesn’t it? However, handwriting and handwriting worksheets are important not only for those learning to write, but for those who need extra practice and to maintain proper form. An easy way to make sure you add student handwriting practice to your weekly assignments is by having students use their weekly spelling list as a springboard for writing. Students can write rhymes, stories, vocabulary meanings, put words in ABC order, write jokes,  songs … using the current week’s spelling list. This makes handwriting more realistic for the student.

So, grab some funky stationery and fun writing pens and set out to make someone’s day a little brighter!

 

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Today’s Necessary Skill???

Learning to type is more important than ever in today’s computer-oriented society. Kids need to learn proper keyboarding skills before bad habits such as the “hunt and peck” system are formed. Keyboarding games are one way to help kids learn this important skill and have fun at the same time. Typing and computer skills are also essential for most jobs today. One study focusing on computer use in the school system estimated that students would spend more than 400 hours on microcomputers before they reached the ninth grade (Kidney, 1985). Who knows the impact keyboarding skills may have on productivity in school, personal, and future work environments.

Touch keyboarding is the goal. The child who can keyboard by touch is able to enter data using all ten fingers. This means that students are free to concentrate on composing text or copying material and not focusing attention to their fingers moving across the keyboard. Losing one’s place in the copy material is eliminated when students are proficient in touch keyboarding. The alternative to touch keyboarding is the use of the “hunt and peck” keyboarding method where children develop their own random and incorrect finger patterns for accessing the keys of the keyboard. Creative ideas are lost as students “hunt and peck” in search of the correct letter on the keyboard. Frustration sets in and often students fail to produce a cohesive and fluent paper.

Keyboarding also helps relieve stress for students who have dysgraphia or other handwriting challenges. Being able to “create” and correct at one time can make a huge difference in some students actually finishing a project.

Though most work is produced on the computer these days, handwriting is still an important skill and must be mastered. There are times a laptop, iPad, netbook… is not handy and you have to make handwritten notes. Print is learned first, then cursive. You can print handwriting sheets in the style of your choice–print, cursive, D’Nealian, with arrows, without arrows… You can even create handwriting sheets with your current spelling words.

 

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“To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme,” That is the Question

The answer is definitely to rhyme! What is a plate for tuna? Name a small, stinging insect. Hint–The answer involves two rhyming words. Give up? A fish dish and A wee bee. Kids today need to focus more on having fun with rhymes to improve their reading and spelling skills.

Rhyming helps children learn about word families such as let, met, pet, wet, and get. Rhyming lends itself to better phonemic awareness; the ability to break words into smaller parts and recognize smaller parts in words. Being able to break words into smaller parts and recognize smaller parts in words is an important skill that is crucial for reading and spelling. This awareness leads to better reading and writing success. Rhyme also teaches children who are learning to read about the patterns and structures in both spoken and written words. Songs and rhymes expose children to the rhythm of language which helps them read with some animation in their voice instead of just a monotone voice. How many times have you seen children sitting happily listening to someone reading in a monotone voice? NEVER! However, when they listen to someone who reads with inflection and animation, they sit glued to the reader. Rhyme and rhythm are very important skills that help a reader learn to use inflection an animation when reading aloud. Rhyme also prepares children to make predictions while learning words and gives them crucial decoding skills. Research is showing that learning how to manipulate words through rhyming and rhyming word games is an important, if not crucial, reading skill. Students who struggle with reading often have a difficult time breaking words down into their individual sounds, and even in hearing each of these sounds, i.e. phonemic awareness skills.

Home Rodent???

One easy way to incorporate rhyming words into your everyday life is via online rhyming games. Hink Pinks or Higgy Piggy word games are excellent. Rhyme is important to reading and spelling because it can help children appreciate that words that share common sounds often share common letter sequences. So if you can spell cat, you can also spell bat, rat and mat. This also applies to reading, if you can read “call,” you can read, ball, tall and mall.

Online spelling sites are useful for practicing weekly word lists. You can add rhyming words to your spelling list at sites that allow you to program your own words. Carry it one step further by printing off handwriting sheets for practicing those same rhyming words. This will involve using at least three senses–seeing, hearing, and touching (writing), which will help your child cement those words in their brain. Read lots of nursery rhymes with your child. Have older children recite nursery rhymes and make up rhymes of their own. See who can make up the silliest rhyming nonsense words. Rhyme in the car with objects you see along your path–car-jar, sign-line, red-said, truck-yuck… Learning is fun you know!

Nursery Rhymes Help With Reading and Spelling

 

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