Clear, consistent formation descriptions
All letters and numerals are made using four basic strokes, or lines, Letters are taught as a sequence of strokes. Strokes complement and reinforce the directionality of reading - to-to-bottom and left-to-right. Consistent directions referencing the guidelines and basic strokes explain the formation of the letters and numerals.
Letters introduced based on formation
The letters are presented based on similar strokes, beginning with letters formed using vertical and horizontal liens. Letters are organized and introduced according to the strokes used in their formation.
Appropriately sized writing lines with colored guidelines
Colored guidelines help children know where to begin their letters and to understand the relative size and position of the letters.
Integrated language arts skills
Grade-appropriate language arts skills are integrated into the Benson Handwriting program to provide relevant practice.
Manuscript letter formation that transfers to cursive letter formation
Letters are taught using formation arrows and numbers. Many letters are continuous stroke similar to the formation of cursive letters, making the transfer to cursive seamless.
Teacher explanation and demonstration
Handwriting instruction follows the principles of guided practice. The teacher models the formation of the letter while verbalizing the formation directions. Children have auditory, visual, and kinesthetic opportunities with letter formation before they ever put their pencils to paper. Their first experience putting pencil to paper involves tracing appropriately sized and positioned letters.
Activities to support auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners
Teacher demonstration and modeling as well as models within the student book support auditory and visual learners. Forming the letter in the air and tracing on their legs and large-letter tracing support kinesthetic learners. Making connections activities address visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
Self-assessment prompts throughout the student book ask children to review and evaluate their work or remind them of important legibility standards.
Each lesson in Benson Handwriting is correlated to relevant English Language Arts and Handwriting standards.
Why Teach Handwriting?
Some would say that the teaching of handwriting is unnecessary in the technological world in which we live. While it is true that technology is changing the way we live and how we do things, handwriting remains an important skill. In a 1992 study involving fine motor difficulties in children, classroom observations of students in grades 2, 4, and 6 revealed that 30 to 60 percent of their day was spent in fine motor activities, with the majority being paper and pencil activities (McHale & Cermak, 1992). Even in kindergarten, the time spent on paper and pencil activities continues to increase. A 2003 study by Marr, Cermak, Cohn, & Henderson showed that kindergartners spent 42 percent of their fine motor time in school on pencil and paper activities. Without the benefit of having been taught handwriting, students' lack of this important skill could compromise their success in school.
Just as children who struggle with reading often avoid reading and, in turn, fall further behind, children who struggle with handwriting often avoid writing. They may be viewed as unable to express themselves in writing when the issue is actually a lack of fluency and competence in the formation of letters. And as with reading, their writing development suffers from this avoidance.