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Printing Question

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    Printing Question

    Why do all printing manuals insist on making all characters start from the same point? Instead of the letter N starting at one point and being a single continuous stroke, everything directs that it is to be a down stroke, pick the pencil up, aim it back at the origin point of the down stroke, get the pencil there, then make the other two strokes. A 5 is not left horizontal, down, curve. It is directed to be down, curve, pick the pencil up, visually locate the origin, get the pencil back to the origin point, right horizontal.

    All that seems horribly like unnecessary work. I understand that starting from different points makes a slight bit of extra thought before starting to write a letter, but surely that can be learned and drop all the extra visual motor integration that is required of the same starting for every letter thing?

    I really am curious why everything is like this. Was it always in the books this way? I learned to start at the bottom for N's and at the right for 5's. The directions in the books just look so foreign to me.
    Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

    Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
    Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
    Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

    #2
    I'm not sure why they do it, in general, but for dyslexics it can make it easier to have a single concrete spot to start. Left/right, up/down is a bit challenging for them. As the Handwriting Without Tears program (developed by an Occupational Therapist - great for fine motor help) says in one of the songs "Where do your letters start?...At the top!"

    For kids who can keep multiple directions in mind, I don't imagine it matters too much. For my daughter who has difficulty with memory recall, multistep directions, etc, it's a very simple way to make writing letters simple. Even helps with the letters that reverse. I can only imagine the further difficulty if we were starting all over the place.

    You asked if it's always been taught this way. I really can't remember specifically how I was taught. In general I taught myself by copying things that I saw. (a source of amusement for some visitors when I was in the hospital for a couple weeks when I was 4). One thing that is different in the program I used for my daughter is to start the lower case d with the curve instead of the stick. In contrast the b is started at the top with the stick. The difference helps to indicate which one it is. I was taught (or at least I've always done it) to start at the top with the stick for both and add a left or right curve as needed.

    For motor integration, maybe it's not the best method. Have you been working with an OT or other specialist to help with this area? They may have good suggestions to help you and her out.

    In terms of smooth steps and strokes my daughter is really liking cursive. We started NAC almost 2 mo ago. (We're about in the middle of the MP K plans. It's taken a long time this year to get here.) She'll be 6 in Aug. I'm substituting a couple of the upper case letters that look more like printed only because they start at a different place than the printed letters she was taught. I don't want to confuse the issue. I let her pick the letter style she liked better and made up comparable practice sheets

    Comment


      #3
      starting points

      That is a GREAT question. When I write my letters, I naturally do it the way that makes it faster. So M is up, down, up, down (starting from the bottom). A starts at the bottom and makes a tent. My uppercase E starts out writing from right to left on the top line, turns down, and then goes back to the right at the bottom. Uppercase F also begins right to left. When you think about it, in cursive most of the letters will be starting from the baseline where they connect. I think if you are happy with the way you write and the speed with which you write, there is no real reason not to pass on the shortcuts. I NEVER write that silly capital cursive Q. Ten years from now, no one is going to watch your child write and say, "You didn't start your A in the right spot!" Just pick the way of doing it that makes sense to you and stick with it.
      Blessings,
      Jude

      dd 17
      ds 14 (special needs)
      ds 11
      ds 9
      dd 7
      ds 4
      dd 2

      Comment


        #4
        I think maybe the "standard" way of doing things is for crispness of writing. If my dd started a five at the right top, it would come out looking like an s every time. A capital E would look like a C with an extra line in the middle. She simply cannot seem to create a sharp corner anyplace that she doesn't need a new line. But, doing an E as four seperate strokes gives it nice corners. I am excited to start her on cursive next year, because I think all the curves will come more naturally. I would agree somewhat with Jude, though, that handwriting is for legibility and if a different than standard way works alright, I would give some leeway. That being said, I am trying to give my kids a year or two of the "right" way before I give up and let them do what works for them. We have pencil grip issues more than letter formation, however.

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          #5
          We'll be starting OT soon. There was another delay in starting because my doctor's office sent the OT prescription over with a diagnosis code of "speech delay" and the therapy clinic had to send it back and get one that said "developmental delay" so that Medicaid will pay for the OT. I am really excited about him starting.

          He likes rules, and has learned to always start with the dot. I can't actually convince him to start at the bottom for letters like A, M, N. He has the trouble with making hard corners with letters, too, but getting things to line up after picking his pencil up is terrible. His letters like a, b, d tend to be a line and a circle that don't touch at all (unless he is tracing). A's are often three non-touching lines. N's are a line straight down, then basically a U that doesn't touch the down line.
          Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

          Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
          Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
          Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

          Comment


            #6
            I'm happy to hear you're getting into the OT finally It was great for us. We haven't been able to go for the past year (my own personal, unrelated medical issue) but I try to keep up with strategies we learned and so far, so good.

            Let us know how it goes!

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