I love great programs but....what needs to be focused on now?

I love great programs but...

I love great programs.  Programs that help kids gain skills and see ALL their abilities.  

One of these programs is called Handwriting without Tears.  It's a printing program that is designed so that kids at different levels can learn how to form letters.  I've worked with the program for years in the school setting and when the program is set up when the child is working on printing skills it works beautifully.  You can't beat it.  

But when this same awesome program is the focus for a child that is worked on writing full sentences -- I get a little worried.  

I get concerned because to focus on printing or put a lot of time into resources for this skill when a child needs to be focusing on writing words is not allowing them to make the progress they need to see when it comes to getting their ideas down.  Focusing on printing can lead to a lack of progress in the areas that need to be developed. 

This is when we need to focus on the real priorities.  

Consider this:

Would forming legible letters at this point help a child get their ideas and words on the page?  

Would it allow them to show others what they understand?  

It will help them form legible letters but they need sentences.  They need to organize their ideas.  They need to find the words and put them on the page.

These are the skills that need to be focused on first.  

Printing is now a lower priority that gets a little less time or focus when it comes to what they need to make gains at school right now.  

This is called a top-down approach.  

Look at what skills need to be focused on now and how can this be achieved.  It doesn't mean that printing is not important.  It is.  But it's not the top priority. 

The same goes for 10 finger typing programs.  If you focus on positioning fingers on the keyboard before a child can organize their ideas and find ways to locate the words they want the skill will only lead to frustration and limited gains in the area that they need to make progress in.  

The same is true of phonetic programs.  If they are the focus when comprehending what is read is the priority - this skill is a lower priority. That means this skill can still be worked on but it's not the main focus to give your child results in what they need NOW. 

There are tons of wonderful programs out there but it's a matter of when to focus on them and why you are focusing on them. 

You got this! 




Susan Schenk