Trouble Writing Numbers

We had another great day at “school” today for Kaitlyn. She has a fever again so she isn’t feeling great, but she was able to focus okay. We did have one problem today so I thought I would bounce it off of everyone and see if anyone has any suggestions for me.

Kaitlyn uses Singapore’s Earlybird Kindergarten Math Book “A”. So far she has understood and done everything perfectly. She can trace lines and dotted lines okay. She doesn’t stay on the line all the time but she has the general movement and idea of it. However, today we worked on the number 2. She could trace it just fine. She traced a whole line of 2’s doing the proper movement. However, when she had to make the number 2 by herself, she couldn’t. She was doing a downward line and then a scribble at the end. Some looked like odd triangles, others like upside down 4’s. I was finally able to convince her to let me guide her hand and help her and she could do it. Then I had her try it herself and she couldn’t. She had poor fine motor skills (one of things she had an IEP in school for). We use the triangle crayons because she is able to hold them better.

My question is…how can I help her with making letters on her own? Any suggestions? I don’t want to push her and she will be a bit slower at it. I do want her to learn though and I want it to be fun for her. Should I try having her make numbers in shaving cream? Should I guide her hand myself? Print off numbers with dotted lines so she can practice tracing? Any other advice?


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Ruth Branson said...

Hi there -
I tried commenting on an earlier post once, but I don't think it ever showed up for some reason, so I thought I'd try again. I'm really enjoying your blog!
I am homeschooling kindergarten with our son this year, too, and we have just started formally on writing numbers. Our boy, Matthew, can recognize his numbers but we haven't tried until just recently to have him write them (and he'll be 6 tomorrow). He is now able to write (usually) the number "2", but it has definitely been one of the hardest numbers for him...I think the hardest, actually. I stopped trying to make him do it on his own after a while, because it just got him frustrated. So I just cut up a bunch of those dotted line pages used for printing letters, and wrote out a bunch of "2"s on them and had him trace them for practice...just a few per day. I decided not to be worried about it because his letter printing is going fine and I think he was just a bit puzzled by the #2. We then took a few days' break, then tried again, with him tracing mine again. Then took another break and did other stuff, then came back to it. Wee bits at a time - no pressure - just tracing a few of mine and then leaving it. This Monday, after tracing a few of mine, he decided suddenly of his own accord to start drawing the number two...and he did it perfectly!! Personally, I wouldn't worry about it - just keep going back to it and try not to be an anxious presence about it.
Oh, one other thing that worked well was buying a couple of little workbooks (from the dollar store!!) that were to help kids get ready for printing letters (but you could do this on your own, too, without a workbook). The book had the student trace over various types of lines - wavy lines, straight lines, curves, etc - all to get them used to moving their pens and pencils in different directions. That seemed to help Matthew a lot.

Shaving cream sounds fun, too!!

All the best. I look forward to reading more!


TexasHeather said...

As a hs'ing mom to 3 boys, and 8 yrs experience hs'ing, and with kids at all ranges of ability -- I will second/ditto what Ruth said. Yes, provide opportunity to practice. Tracing, not just the numbers but wavy lines, straight lines, etc. Mazes to do to practice staying within the lines (and the curves/turns are good practice for writing numbers/letters). Cutting practice, if she's able to manipulate scissors -- make lines, wiht a sticker at the end, that she is to cut. Play doh, to strengthen her hands/fingers. Shaving cream, finger paints, etc. are excellent ideas! Also, if you get some sandpaper, and place her paper over it (a very fine sandpaper) so she can "feel" the way the crayon grips the paper, it can help. Or have her practice on a chalk board -- anything to make it more tactile for her.

I'm right there with you with my youngest, who is learning, but slowly. These are some of the things we've tried over the years with him and his older brothers. Hope they help! Most of all, keep it low/no pressure and fun for her. Don't worry if it takes her longer. She'll get it when she's ready.

Missy said...

I've always thought that kids are pushed to write too soon. Some kids just aren't capable of it at that age, let alone those kids that have motor issues.

I just left Jayden alone with writing and he finally just started picking it up on his own. I would have him get out crayons, markers, and paper and let him "write" whatever he wanted and we called that handwriting for the day. I could tell when he was finally ready and capable of doing more technical teaching of handwriting.

Focus on the things that she can do and don't push. She will get there eventually. Do some things that help strengthen her fine motor muscles; play doh, squishy balls, etc.

Missus Wookie said...

Try making a game of it - we used foam letters in the bath, writing in sand/cornflour and a favourite at slightly older writing it on bare backs or hands (with and without looking as the skills improve) to work out what the letter/number/shape is.

But we didn't do formal writing at five just let them scribble as they wanted and played games.

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