On this day…
- write in a journal or diary,
- work on letter formation with downloadable handwriting sheets,
- learn how to type on a keyboard,
- write your own book!
- read books that are written like a diary.
Handwriting is becoming a lost art during a time when we more often use computers, email, and texts to communicate. This day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturer’s Association (WIMA), to ‘alert the public to the importance of handwriting’ and as ‘a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting’. (And of course to sell more pen and pencils!) It just so happens that January 23rd is also John Hancock’s birthday. Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, and is known for his large bold signature.
Journals & Diaries
Give your kids their own journal or diary to draw or write in. Kids can really get excited about having their own space to write down their thoughts and ideas. Make it a daily routine – maybe just before bedtime, or in the afternoon for some quiet time.
My 5-year old daughter has recently taken to writing in her ‘diary’. Someone gave her this tiny little notebook and she started writing things down throughout the day. Ok, so I feel a little bad, but I looked at it one day – she’s only 5 and I just had to see! It was so cute and hilarious. Here’s just one of the pages…
“My dress was on backwards. I just licked my feet. It is almost Christmas. I’m a chatterbox. I’m almost…”
Lol! The journal entries of a 5 year old!!
Even though the need for handwriting seems to be dwindling, I’m not yet ready to give up on its importance in this world. My daughter is more like I was as a child – she loves to write and does very well with printing and letter formation. My son on the other hand, was never interested in writing and struggled a bit with holding a pencil at a young age. Luckily, he is a strong reader and has a wonderful imagination. I wish I had worked with him more when he was younger, so that writing wouldn’t be as much of a challenge for him. He has such interesting ideas, and I would love for him to be able to express himself through writing.
Anyway, here is a website that I like to use for handwriting practice. It has:
- letter sheets for right and left-handed
- generate your own name writing sheet
- generate your own with words or sentences
- cursive practice
- and more!
I know that the founders of National Handwriting Day would not want to discuss typing and keyboarding…. BUT! I think it is just as important now than ever before to teach kids how to type on a keyboard for many reasons:
- By 3rd grade, many school tests and assessments are done on the computer, and often they are timed tests, which means if your child struggles with finding the letters on the keyboard, they may have more difficulty on their test.
- Kids and adults are increasingly using devices, such as ipods and ipads, at home and in the classroom. They are getting more practice with using their 2 index fingers, when they should be getting practice using all fingers!
- If your child struggles with handwriting and spelling, learning how to write on the computer may open up a new world for him or her.
Here’s some fun typing tutorials online:
Write Your Own Book
This can really get kids excited about writing and reading. The book can be as simple as a few pieces of paper stapled together, or you can use an online photo book website to create a hard or soft covered book!
1. Help your child decide what to write about. Will they write a factual book about a favorite topic (such as a favorite animal, place or person)? Will they write a book to express emotions about an experience they had (a fun trip, a new sibling, a scary experience)? Or, do they want to make up a fictional story with their own characters?
2. Discuss the plot, how the characters will interact, and what pictures they will draw. Encourage note taking and sketching.
3. As their story and pictures take shape, encourage descriptive words and details in the drawings. For example, instead of, “I saw a cat,” write “I saw a big black cat with yellow eyes.” Help them with their illustrations by exploring what they might see in the surrounding environment or what emotions the characters are feeling. Remember to encourage, but not criticize – as long as they are doing their own best careful work!
4. They can cut and paste their final copy and drawings onto a new sheet of paper, or they can be scanned into the computer for printing. The book can be put together in a notebook, binder, or uploaded to a photo book website to be printed! Don’t forget a title page, and a note about your young author and illustrator!
5. Make extra copies and throw a book signing party to celebrate their achievement!
Books To Read
- Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney