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Summer handwriting classes and tutoring for preschool, rising kindergarten, and beyond!

Handwriting is a very complex task. Think about it: even in the early stages of learning letter formation, a child must watch and listen to the demonstration, understand and practice correct grasp of a pencil, understand spatial concepts ("draw a line down..."), be able to maintain muscle strength in core to fine muscles to maintain posture, copy the letters while remembering the strokes and maintain enough force to make a mark on the paper.... and we haven't even done anything except attempt a vertical line at this point!!

Not only is handwriting complex, it is very important. It is a form of communicating our ideas, answers, thoughts, greetings, and basically, our knowledge to people. The End-of-Grade Tests that start in 3rd grade in most states score handwritten narratives. SAT's and ACT's have timed composition areas. Although legibility does not get a score, it helps if the scorers can read the composition and kids with good handwriting strokes have more efficient strokes... which equals faster handwriting...a plus for timed essays.

Summer Handwriting and Fine Motor Classes

All summer handwriting classes for 2024 have been canceled due to low registration.  We will try again next year!  If you would like individual OT or tutoring sessions, please reach out.

All in-person classes will be held at our satellite summer office at Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1001 Queens Road, Charlotte NC 28207.  Classroom number to be indicated on registration email.  Parking and/or drop off/pick up information will be given with registration email. All programs are led by a licensed pediatric occupational therapy practitioner.   All programs are considered “enrichment” based and are best for children functioning on or above grade level.

Requirements for all in person classes:

  • Child must be fully potty trained
  • Child must be able to attend to the curriculum without 1:1 support
  • Child should be able to attend in group settings 
  • If an enrolled child does not meet these requirements or shows physical or verbal aggression toward other students or adults in class then the student’s enrollment will be immediately canceled without a refund.
Most classes require at least 8 enrolled students in order for the class to proceed.  If the class doesn’t meet enrollment, then an email will be sent to parents at least 2 weeks before the class is to begin and a full refund will be given. 

DoodleCharms/ canceled due to low registration

Group pre-handwriting mini camp for children that will be four years old by August 1st, 2024.  Limited to 10 children. 2.5-hour four-day minicamp. Best for children not going to kindergarten in Fall 2024, but continuing in preschool or JK/TK class.

Do you have a child that loves writing letters and numbers already?  Why not learn the right way?!  Doodlecharms  will expand pre-handwriting skills to introduce age-appropriate and advanced developmental learning. 

Skills addressed: We will introduce children to learning to build uppercase letters, build numbers, proper crayon grasp, self drawings (representational drawings), and fine motor skills/control.   Each learner will build confidence as he/she progresses at their own pace while enjoying art, crafts, music, and movement.  

Class will utilize strategies from “FUNdamental Foundation” program and “Learning Without Tears” pre-k curriculum.  Participants will receive:

Campers will bring a zipping bookbag, a peanut-free snack, and drinking water each day.

Going to Kindergarten Club: UpperCase &

Going to Kindergarten Club: LowerCase/ both canceled due to low registration

Our handwriting and pre-handwriting classes focus on optimizing the child’s current ability so that they will grow to be more efficient and accurate with handwriting.   We do this through fun and unique gross motor activities, hands-on crafts, sensory exploration, and fine motor labs.   The overall purpose of this class is to make children more confident, motivated and skilled at handwriting. 

Group handwriting and fine motor camp for children that are entering kindergarten Fall 2024.   Limited to 10 children.  Monday-Thursday for 2.5 hours per day.

For rising kindergarten kids only. The club is targeted at learners who are academically ready for kindergarten-level challenges. The club is a fun and unique way to enrich a child’s skills and interest in fine motor and handwriting before the kindergarten year.  We work on fundamental motor skills as well as advanced handwriting skills to optimize preparation for kindergarten.  The club is led by occupational therapists and assistants, as needed. 

***There is a separate upper case AND a lower case class.  Your child should start with the UPPER CASE CLASS unless they have mastered upper case.  If your child has not mastered at least 20/26 uppercase letters then do not skip the upper case class.  It will only frustrate him/her. 

Skills addressed: proper pencil/crayon grasp, gross motor coordination, fine motor skills/ coordination,formal handwriting program, coloring in the lines, recognition of letters , building and writing uppercase letters (or lower case letters) and name,  carrying lunch tray, opening snack, social games, turn taking, confidence building, fine motor skills interest /motivation building, and drawing people.   Class utilizes gross motor play, fine motor labs, handwriting labs, and handwriting instruction.   Skills are taught by arts and crafts activities that are sensory-based to increase fun and attention!

Campers will bring a zipping bookbag, a peanut-free snack, and drinking water each day.

Each enrolled child will receive a Learn My Letters: Uppercase workbook(if enrolled in uppercase class) and/or  Learn My Letters: Lowercase workbook (if enrolled in lowercase class).

Is my child right for this class?:  If your child is going to be entering kindergarten this Fall then this class will help refine those developmental skills needed for kindergarten fine motor success as well as fluidity of handwriting.

1st Grade Charmers (Handwriting )Club

Group handwriting class for rising 1st grade students.  Limited to 10 children.  Monday-Thursday for 1.5 hours each day.  This is a great way to keep handwriting skills sharp over the summer.  We will work on reinforcing skills through activities such as crafts, games, and story writing. Kids will likley not know that its a handwriting class! 

Skills addressed:  Formation, sizing, spacing between words, sitting letters on line, lower case positioning of letters, pencil grasp, and self-composition (ideas into written expression).  Skills are taught by a combination of gross motor activities, sensory motor activities, fine motor labs, and direct instruction.

Cursive Charmers

Summer group handwriting class for learning cursive. Typically, we offer classes for grades 3rd-5th, middle school, and high school (based on interest).  Class meets for 1 week for 45 minutes per day on Monday-Thursday. All classes will be virtual.

Skills addressed:  Cursive formation (focus is on the lower case), connectors, and self-composition (ideas into written expression).  Class participants should be motivated to learn cursive. 

Participants will receive a digital cursive workbook.   It is recommended that participants download the workbook to a tablet.  Using a stylus, such as an Apple Pencil, the participants can practice in order to increase the carryover of skills.  Participants can opt to print the workbook for practice.  

Handwriting Tips

Use a silly band/loose rubberband, or stamp the dominant hand as a physical reminder
give verbal cues when drawing to use your “boss hand” or your “right/left” hand

  • Use crayons broken to about 1″ long to encourage proper grasp
  • Use golf pencils or a bit shorter
  • Use pencil grips only if child consistently uses correctly
  • Cut down existing colored pencils by snapping them down with large electrical pliers
  • Use theraputty (hide and find beads/coins, etc)
  • Monkey bars, hang onto rope swing
  • Use spray type bottles
  • Use tongs and tweezers to pick up items
  • Clothespins games

Alignment refers to “bumping” letters and words on the writing line

  • Have child practice saying “bump” when the pencil lead hits the line
  • Use raised line paper (Mead-Target) to “feel” the line

Spacing refers to spacing between each letter as well as between each word. Often improving spacing alone will greatly improve handwriting legibility.

  • Use a finger space between each word
  • Use eraser of pencil to measure if appropriate space
  • Younger children need larger sized paper /lines
  • Use adapted paper
  • Try graph paper 

Fluency (writing at a consistent and steady pace)

  • Practice jump rope at home (kids 6 years and up should do 20 in a row independently)

    Can’t think of what to write?:
  • Use picture reminders of topics/places/people that help kids to generate thoughts
  • Teach/use diagrams to organize and outline the verbal story
  • Encourage the main parts (beginning, middle ending) and then learn to add details

Watch how you hold that crayon

This article was posted in the NY Times and you can read the full article here.

NOAH LASCANO, 8, had a problem: His teachers couldn’t read his handwriting. His homework became a frustrating exercise in writing once, and then, at the teacher’s request, writing again, just for legibility.

His brother, James, 5, was struggling in kindergarten — even drawing stick figures was a task. When his mother, Paula Lascano, tried to cajole him into completing a few workbook assignments, he reported that “his hand got too tired.”

Like many parents, Ms. Lascano decided it was time for help, so 10 months ago she hired Casey Halper, a pediatric occupational therapist, to work first with James, and then with Noah, once a week. The boys manipulated stiff green putty, put pegs into boards, created chains of pennies and plastic connectors and wrote the alphabet — again and again.

These days, many little fingers are being drilled. Twenty-five years ago, pediatric occupational therapists primarily served children with severe disabilities like spina bifida, autism or cerebral palsy. Nowadays, these therapists are just as focused on helping children without obvious disabilities to hold a pencil. 

Finish reading the article here https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/fashion/25Therapy.html

Learning of children by offering unique and creative strategies for cognitive, sensory, and motor development.    

The material on this site is for your information and education only and should not be interpreted as medical or professional advice. You should never treat yourself for a medical condition based on the information provided here. Likewise, you should never decide that you do not need treatment based on this information. All medical information, from this or any other source, needs to be reviewed carefully with your own doctor and other medical professionals before you act upon it in any way.

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