Students head to local camp to work on ancient art of handwriting cursive
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 24, 2013 1:46 PM
Occupational therapists Katina Holland, left, and Diana Soles help students Myah Ownes, left, and Lainey Forbey during the Scribblez Handwriting Camp at Wayne Memorial Hospital. The children were at the camp to learn how to make their messy handwriting neater, and how to write cursive.
The hand of Lainey Forbey uses a pencil to slowly write words in cursive in her notebook.
Laney Forbey put a lot of time into creating her painting. She wanted it to be a monster, complete with a scary outfit and sharp teeth.
"He's saying, 'Roar,'" the 8-year-old said. "I made him look like that."
By painting her monster, Laney was sharpening her arm strength and fine and gross motor skills to be able to master the skill of cursive writing.
She was one of several local children taking part in this summer's Scribbliz Handwriting Camp at Wayne Memorial Hospital. And painting was just one of the fun activities the occupational therapists used to help the children make their messy handwriting neater and to teach them how to write cursive.
"We tried to incorporate doing fun activities with handwriting," occupational therapist Katina Holland said. "We had aluminum foil and the children had to write their names on it. That's another way to do handwriting that's fun."
Participants also got to practice their handwriting by writing their names with their fingers in hand-washing foam and shaving cream.
The children also did outside activities to help improve their handwriting.
One was standing in a circle using a parachute, trying to keep a ball from falling out of it.
"We also called out colors and if they had that color, they ran under the parachute," Ms. Soles said. "Then we played a game where we tried to trap them under the parachute and they had to run as fast as they could so they didn't get trapped."
Laney didn't know any cursive when she went to the handwriting camp.
"And now I do," she said. "I think it's going to help me when school starts because I'm just going into third grade and they're going to teach me it. But now I think I'm going to be ahead of everybody else."
Myah Owens, 13, is a military child. Her family moved before she could learn cursive at her old school.
"So I thought it would be a very great idea to come here and learn it," she said. "I've learned how to connect the letters and also many lower case letters. When we're done here, I plan to keep on learning it so I can learn cursive all the way.
"I think this is going to help me because my handwriting was very messy with print. I think cursive will help my handwriting look neater, and it'll make me write faster and make it easier to take notes in class."
Charlotte Taricani got excited doing fun activities to learn cursive. When she started the camp, she knew how to write only her name and the letter "z" in cursive. She's leaving the camp knowing a lot more letters.
"The really fun part was doing the 14 activities set up on tables, doing one every three minutes," the 10-year-old said. "The hardest part for me was making the cursive neat and not look like rough writing."
After attending the camp, Charlotte said she thinks she will be ahead of her class when school starts.
The occupational therapists said making cursive writing fun with activities is the best way to learn it.
"People think, 'Oh, my handwriting is bad,'" Ms. Holland said. "But to sit and write for two hours is not always beneficial. You need those other skills, too. You need good core strength, upper body strength and good arm strength to help the muscles in your hands.
"I love watching the kids achieve their goals. It makes us feel like we've invested into them and have taught them skills they're not going to use just for today, but skills they'll use for the rest of their lives."