Grade 3 (8–9 yrs)

By Grade 3 (8–9 yrs), we are looking for the beginnings of automatic handwriting. While automaticity in handwriting is only really fully consolidated by adolescence, the foundations should be laid by this stage.

Some children develop later when it comes to maturity of the fine motor foundations they need for handwriting. If your child is lagging behind, this is a good time to work on the muscles supporting pencil grip and pencil control. If your child is motivated and on board with you, they can make good progress at the Grade 3 (8–9 yrs) age.

Our Fine Motor Fun kit provides these foundations, while the eBooks take the development of pencil control further. Since these activities require the co-operation of the child to achieve improvements in pencil control and the emergency of discrete refined finger movements, Grade 3 (8–9 yrs) is the ideal age for this.

For children whose handwriting has gone horribly wrong, a transition to cursive handwriting can be a really good option for them. The “motor maps” for handwriting become hardwired and it can be difficult to bring about changes in messy and untidy handwriting. Cursive handwriting, however, provides a new handwriting style and as a result a whole new set of motor maps. Grade 3 (8–9 yrs) children can do really well with a transition to cursive handwriting.

If your child is struggling with their handwriting, I usually recommend a 6 week intensive working on fine motor foundations and a new handwriting style. If your child is motivated and engaged we can achieve good results in this period. If this is the case, then I encourage you continue and establish automaticity in cursive handwriting so your Grade 3 (8–9 yrs) child can focus on what to write, not how to write.

Should there be no improvements from the 6-week intensive, it may be an option to consider a handwriting accommodation for your child. This decision should be taken in conjunction with an occupational therapist.

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