Pencil Free Writing

  • Situation

    What are some alternative ways to motivate kids that struggle with the fine motor demand of writing? I am a 2nd grade teacher who has a student who really struggles with writing. Sometimes we allow her to type words but this also can be frustrating for her. The computer is in the back of class and I sometimes feel that she is excluded from the group. Any ideas?

  • Summary

    Often handwriting is a struggle for students with a disability and can result in misbehavior due to frustration. Using computers or assistive technology such as an Alphasmart are good options but if student has trouble using the keyboard, you may want to offer a low tech solution such as letter tiles and word cards.

  • Definition

    Pencil Free Writing is a low tech alternative to writing words and sentences.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to recognize sight words and spell words

  • Process

    1. Collect a variety of letter tiles (such as in Scrabble) or plastic letters and put them in a box that a student can access. When other students have to write words in a journal or on paper, allow the student with fine motor deficits to create words with the tiles or plastic letters.

    2. Depending on the student, you may want to provide a cookie tray or laminated template as a cue for letter and work spacing.

    3. You could also create laminated “word “cards for sentence construction.

    4. Adapted from: Kluth & Danaher “From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks” Brooks Publishing Company.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Consultant/Author: Katie Bentz, M.Ed.



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