Highlighted Handwriting Paper
One of the biggest things that early writers struggle with is using the appropriate letter size. All of a student’s letters start looking the same size, making the writing difficult to read. Traditional primary paper includes dashed lines, but sometimes this isn’t enough to keep kids writing their letters neatly.
What is it?
Highlighted handwriting paper uses a darker, shaded area for the space below the dash. This visual is very clear and makes it readily apparent when a letter creeps out of this space and towards the upper part of the line.
How to make your own highlighted handwriting paper
You can easily use a highlighter to create this special type of paper. Simply highlight the bottom half of each line. If you are using primary paper, this would be everything from the bottom line up through the dotted/dashed line. Be sure to tell your students what the highlighted area is for, and then give the student feedback after they have completed whatever writing activity you have assigned. If you’d like pre-made highlighted handwriting paper, check out our product here. It is important that you model how to use the highlighted handwriting paper so that students can see an example using upper and lower case letters. It’s a good idea to have students practice an upper and lower case letter together (such as Aa, Bb, Cc) so that the height difference is easy to identify.
Tips and Tricks
If your student is struggling to make the letters small enough to fit inside the lines you have provided, they probably aren’t ready for lines of that size. As children develop their fine motor skills, they will improve with their hand control and be able to work in smaller spaces. Forcing children to write on improper paper will make it extremely difficult to improve their neatness. Try using paper with bigger lines, but continue to encourage students to use the lines correctly. You may also notice some students are consistently writing smaller than the lines call for. In this situation, consider providing students with paper that has smaller lines (such as traditional “wide-ruled” paper). If a student has excellent hand control and can write on standard paper, there is no reason to force him/her to use primary paper. Just be sure that the student’s writing is legible and that the letters are an appropriate size in relation to one another.
If your student continues to struggle with handwriting, you may want to consider adding a copywork component to your daily lesson plans or homework routine.