Suitable pencils as well as the following criteria will have a positive impact on children’s handwriting skills:
A good, upright sitting position is important for writing movements to be fluid. Feet should be able to touch the floor. For this purpose, the furniture either has to be adjusted in terms of height or children should rest their feet on a small footstool. Sitting upright at a table ensures perfect eye-hand coordination which means a child can observe its writing motor skills; any other sitting position negatively impacts the writing process.
The lower arm and outer edge of the hand should be positioned on the writing surface while writing. This means shoulder, arm and wrist are relaxed and do not have to perform any additional, strenuous holding work in terms of their muscles.
For right-handers, exercise books and worksheets should be sloped at an incline of around 15 degrees to the left, and of around 30 degrees to the right for left-handers. When sitting front on to a desk, this position corresponds to the movement of the lower arm; the writing can be checked while writing by both left-handers and right-handers because the hand is positioned under the line. This position is particularly important for left-handers as they often tend to develop a hook position while writing which results in an incredible overstretching and too much tension in both the hand and fingers.
The type of ruling is a great support when learning to write. As the shape of letters is practised more than the actual movement sequence when learning to write, it is useful to provide children with paper with wider-spaced ruling. The best paper for practising features ruling with different colours at the edges to indicate the system of ascenders and descenders as well as the middle of letters.
For left-handers it is sensible to indicate the system of ruling on the right of the sheet as the graphics intended to help a left-handed child would otherwise be completely covered by the left hand and thus not visible.
Incidence of light
The light must fall over a page to suit a child’s hand preference and without causing any shadows that would shade the writing or distort the eye-hand coordination. If several children are writing or making things at one table, whether at school or in their leisure time, they should sit so that they do not disturb each other with their active arms.