School uses unusual program to improve kids' handwriting

By Jackie Faye - bio | email

BAMBERG, SC (WIS) - Teachers say the basic skill of handwriting is not getting the same attention in this digital age as it used to, and teachers in Bamberg want to make sure their students are not forgetting the proper way to put pencil to paper. To get the point across, they're using some unorthodox methods.

It's a new twist to an old song, and a new twist to learn an old skill. "Teachers are learning to teach handwriting with a fun, easy to use curriculum," said Tania Ferrandino.

Ferrandino teaches the program Handwriting Without Tears to teachers across the country. "The fact is, students are still having to write every single day," she said. "It is their primary means of communication and it goes across all other subject areas."

Ferrandino also believes it's essential to start teaching handwriting early. Getting a four year old to write is not so easy, but what child does not like to sing and play?

"Our wood pieces comprise of four simple pieces, a big line, a little line, and big curve and a little curve, and they basically make up all the capital letters," said Tania. "Those four simple terms will become those four simple strokes to form these letters."

Linda Warren teaches 5-year-old kindergarten and thinks her students will love the hands on approach. "You know it is not just them hearing, its not just a visual, with using their manipulatives, it's something they can touch, they sing, they're saying it, and then writing."

"So the songs and music and all is something that they love, so it makes it fun," continued Warren. "If you make it fun you know they are just ready to learn it."

"We teach the mechanics of letter formation so they eventually learn to focus in on the content because if children have to think every time they are looking at their paper how to form a letter then they can not concentrate on the content," said Tania.

That content gets more important as students get older. One of the components on the SAT is an essay. The Bamberg School District was able to bring in the program Handwriting Without Tears with grant money aimed at improving preschool outcomes.

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