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Saturday, September 22, 2012

VSL Learners, Part 4 Handwriting difficulties

Part four:
This week we look at handwriting, spelling, and taking notes.

Here's the assignment:
Create a blog with at least 8 entries to share resources and/or strategies with other educators, administrators, and/or parents. Be sure to include pictures, links, etc. in your blog. Make sure to describe how the resource or strategy might be useful to you and how it would impact VSLs.
Before we start, one comment that might have gone better in last week's materials and that is the following quote.  For years I have wondered why some students (or people) get puns and others don't.  Here's a significant clue.  If you are a person that thinks that a word only labels one thing, then you can't get puns.
For writing to be interesting, the writer has to be able to express similar ideas in
many diverse ways. For auditory-sequential wordsmiths, this is not a problem. If they
don’t automatically come up with several different ways to express an idea, they push the
thesaurus key (shift F7) or pull the thesaurus off the shelf. There are endless ways to say
the same thing. This is actually a novel concept for the visual-spatial learner. I learned
from Gerald Grow, a professor at Florida A & M University, that visual thinkers tend to
use words as labels for pictures. Each picture bears one label. It would no more occur to
a visual-spatial learners to use a variety of ways to express a single idea than it would be
to go around and change the names of all the pieces of art in an art gallery.  (

Handwriting is increasingly becoming a skill of the past.  Keyboarding is faster, and helps VSL students get their ideas down more quickly.  This article relates many events that can happen during birth that may lead to young people having hearing or writing problems and many ideas for helping to overcome difficulties in these areas.

So, what's one to do with difficulties with handwriting?  Try keyboarding, give more time when writing is essential, use other evaluation methods (oral, pictures, acting), and teach calligraphy.  Calligraphy?  How could this help?  In order to do calligraphy you need to slow down and learn consistent letter formation.  This helps you to write more carefully even when not doing deliberate calligraphy.  I've noticed improvement in my handwriting as well as in some students who have learned some calligraphy.  I've thought that an art class with calligraphy would be very helpful for many students' handwriting.  There are even books that have been written to help people, including adults, improve their handwriting!

Back to keyboarding.  In addition to increasing the speed of getting one's ideas on paper (so to speak), it also uses the entire brain and both hands.  Voice activated software is also an option.  Susan Jones lists many accommodations for those with writing difficulties and their teachers.  Dr. Magen has more on her site.

For those classrooms that do wish to pursue handwriting, there are methods and curriculum available.  Handwriting without tears is one of them.

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