I’ve written many times about what a reluctant mark maker Ben has been so when I was contacted in the Summer to see if I would like to work with STABILO and the National Handwriting Association to help Ben develop his handwriting it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse!
I was asked to note down my concerns and share Ben’s handwriting problems so that the National Handwriting Association could give me some tailored advice on how best to support him moving forward.
So back in June here’s what I wrote:
My little boy is just reaching the end of his Reception year – he has always been a bit of a reluctant mark maker and whilst this has improved a lot over the last year he’s still a typical boy who isn’t really that interested in writing. At the moment his letter formation is suspect to say the least and his writing is only really legible if you already knew what he’d written (of course this isn’t at all unusual for his age). My biggest concern is that he is so full of ideas and clever words that may never get to the paper. I’d love to be able to work on his confidence, enthusiasm and also pace eventually to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Since I wrote that Ben has actually become much happier to write – as his spelling develops I think he finds writing easier and if he has a purpose so much the better. Before the Summer holidays Ben also discovered a love for colouring in which has been great for developing his pencil control.
By the time the Stabilo package arrived in the Autumn term Ben was already starting to show far more interest in writing so he saw the new Stabilo goodies as a bit of a treat and was keen to give them a go! The tailored handwriting advice was only really a short paragraph which didn’t’ really tell me anything I didn’t already know – basically don’t force it and try other things which aren’t just “writing” to help him develop his fine motor skills.
There was an immediate and noticeable difference in his handwriting when using the ergonomic Stabilo Easy pen & pencil. The design means that its actually really difficult not to hold the pencil properly – you are encouraged to use a proper tripod grip and then pen / pencil is curved to rest neatly in your hand. I quite like writing with it myself to be honest. It doesn’t blot or smudge. The mechanical pencil was a revelation – as it doesn’t need sharpening his writing never suffers from that awful blunt pencil scruffiness. Ben was clearly comfortable with it from the start and the improvement his handwriting was dramatic.
He is much happier to write now and will allow me to help him correct errors in his letter formation.
Alongside the fabulous pen and pencil Ben was also sent the Stabilo Trio Scribbi set which are quite possibly some of the best felt tips I’ve come across. The solid, triangular shape of the pens means they encourage the correct pen hold but the best feature by far is the push resistant thick tip – basically the tip of the pen is slightly bouncy meaning that you can’t actually push too hard as the tip just disappears back into the shaft of the pen. Anyone who has watched children colouring with a felt tip and seen them get damaged time after time from pressing to hard will appreciate what a cracking feature this is.
As both a parent and a primary school teacher I’m really thrilled with these Stabilo products and will definitely be carrying on using them with Ben and Chloe.