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Five tips for good handwriting

The Five Steps

Here are five steps that really work!

1. Get a Great Grasp
handwritingTry this — hold your pencil at the top near the eraser and try to write your name. Pretty tough, huh? But when you hold your pencil the correct way, writing is much easier. The best way to hold a pen or pencil is to let it rest next to the base of your thumb. Hold it in place with your thumb, and your index and middle fingers. See the photo below.

2. Let the Lines Be Your Guide
Lined paper is your friend! Those lines can help you create letters that are the right size and proportion. Proportion means that one thing is the right size compared with the other. So your lowercase "a" should be half the height of a capital "A."

Be sure to fill up the lined space completely. Those capital letters should stretch from the bottom line to the top one. Lines also can keep you writing straight instead of uphill or downhill. When you don't have lines, like when you're creating a poster, you can use a ruler and draw light pencil lines so your title will be the right size and look perfectly straight.

3. Slow Down
If your writing is hard to read or you erase a lot, try slowing down a little. For some kids, going slower solves the problem. If you rush, it's hard to control where you stop and start your letters, and you end up making more mistakes. Did you ever erase so hard it ripped a hole in the paper? We hate that!

4. Lower the Pressure
Some kids press down really hard when they write. That makes it harder to make the smooth lines needed for writing, especially cursive. Try easing up, don't grip the pencil as tightly, and let your pencil mark the paper without going all the way through. You'll break fewer pencil points, too!

5. Play Games
Say what? You heard us right. Games can improve your handwriting. Lots of games require you to write or draw pictures. So even though it's not official schoolwork, you're still using the skills you need to control your pencil better. To have better control of how your hands move, try games like Jenga or Don't Spill the Beans.

And if you want to strengthen the muscles you need for writing, you can also do that while you're playing board games. How? Use a clothespin instead of your fingers to pick up your game piece and move it around the board.

After a long board game, how about some imaginative play? Pretend you're a movie star or famous athlete. Now, what do you do when your fans rush up to meet you? Give them your autograph, of course!