With the vast options available, handwriting still holds a unique essence in itself. Abilities to neatly put information on paper is often important and an admirable trait of a person. While having the best handwriting is the need of many people, mostly all need a few hacks to make a great difference in the presentation.
Accordingly, this article aims to highlight a few hacks that can help improve the handwriting of an individual along with tips and tricks to maintain dexterity as well. Going through these insights and employing them, you can try and become better at carving your words on paper.
Handwriting and its components
A journal by Fancher in 2018 studied the behavior and result of handwriting practice in Pre-K students and found that handwriting is not only important but also assists in the improvement of motor learning theory and cognitive learning strategies.
This is indicative of the fact that even though handwriting is a learned skill, it is not a consequence of normal development. It requires extensive practice over the various components that make the process of handwriting a skill-based process instead of innate behavior. These components can be conclusive of various issues we might end up facing in handwriting, but can be improved through the following insights:
It refers to the process of remembering and producing quick and automatic recall of numbers and letters. If an individual is unable to retain the formation of these components, the handwriting of the individual is bound to be affected by that.
It refers to the understanding of the direction of the letters and numbers being written. Error in this component of handwriting can cause spelling mistakes and reduce the legibility of the content. It can also cause distraction and inconsistency in the written content.
It refers to how and where the numbers and letters are being placed on the baseline and defines the legibility of the content.
It refers to the size of the numbers or the letters being written. The movement of the wrist and fingers directs the size of the content. It is imperative to use age-appropriate papers to make sure that children of younger age groups have guided spaces for them to learn the size of the letters and numbers used frequently.
It refers to the neatness and proportion of the writing. One of the most common issues associated with matters of control is “pencil” or “pen” grip. While problems with control aren’t majorly caused directly, but because of adaptation of poor habits.
Effective handwriting hacks
The acquired skill of handwriting does involve a lot of cognitive and motor aspects to it, however a few hacks that can never go wrong, and in fact, improve or develop certain habits around it would involve:
1. Break down the components
One of the best hacks to improve your handwriting is to divide a letter formation into its components, which can be done by separating every curve. This allows for improvement in the formation of basic strokes of these letters and hence improves handwriting over time. The links below can be used to refer to the technique being discussed here.
This hack requires the use of a ladyfinger or a bean and produces maximum results only after you have a hold over the consistency of your hand movements. Here, after every word, use the bean to create space before writing the next word, and practice like this for at least two to three sheets of a notebook or a diary. This will help in bringing consistency in the word spacing and make the handwriting more clear and easy to read.
3. The ratio hack
This hack is a rather geometrical hack and requires some practice as well. Here, the smallest letter has to be half the size of the line in which it is being written and the capital letter is double the size of the small letter. This allows the writing to look more consistent and readable, through the ratio of 2:1, where 2 stands for the size of the capital letters and 1 stands for the size of the small letters.
4. Avoid Tangles
When the long ascenders and descenders coincide with one another while writing in consequent lines, it makes the writing look more inconsistent, occupied, and unreadable. This can be done by either making the size of ascenders and descenders slightly smaller than usual or making more space between these lines.
It is one of the most common errors that we make while using cursive handwriting. We tend to connect the letters of the word, using curved connectors, which can lead to confusion in the understanding of the actual shape of the letters, however, using straight connectors to join letters can help in easy differentiation between them, thus keeping the connections tidy.
Simple tips and tricks for handwriting
Handwriting can be a reflection of an individual’s personality, thereby it is important to keep on improving and evolving it. The following tips and tricks can help an individual in improving and making sure that the progress they are making in handwriting is going in the right direction.
- Stretching your arms, hands, and fingers before you begin to write, can really help in improving the grip and in fact prevent arm fatigue in case of extensive writing.
- Try not to fix all the gaps in your handwriting at once, choose one issue, resolve it using the right tools, practice, and then move forward to the next issue.
- Another tip in handwriting would be to focus on speed and clarity at the same time. It is important to make sure that the handwriting is readable all the while adhering to the time limit. We often end up focusing either on the speed of writing or the legibility of its understanding.
- Focus on the consistency of the font and the type of letter formation. If you begin to write in cursive make sure that the complete content is written in a cursive style with consistent heights of the letters and the gap between them.
- Doodle using your writing style. This would help in training hand-eye coordination and would improve an individual’s motor skills as well. It is also an extremely relaxing activity and acts as a component of the world of handwriting itself.
- Create a comfortable space of writing with minimal distractions and disruptions to the writing space.
- Analyze your handwriting in terms of its consistency of the formation of letters and the alignment, and seek help from teachers or guides in case of extensive confusion or inability.
- An individual can always print and practice on handwriting sheets to improve peer writing and aspects related to the formation and appearance of writing.
Even though we are living and progressing into an age that has been digitized, the simple act of writing by hand will never go out of style. It weaves the thoughts together and can be a reflection of various aspects of an individual’s life. Keeping that in mind, the above list of hacks can help an individual improve their handwriting, their usefulness, and most importantly, why these hacks need to be implemented in our daily writing activities. You can use these tips, tricks, and hacks to make writing further smoother and reader-friendly.
- Fancher, L. A., Priestley-Hopkins, D. A., & Jeffries, L. M. (2018). Handwriting acquisition and intervention: A systematic review. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 11(4), 454-473.