Letter Land by Hand

Letter Land by Hand

The Reading Kingdom teaches your child to learn to read and write on the computer. While that is taking place, there are still many handwriting demands that have to be addressed in school and in doing homework. Because so little attention is given to the teaching of handwriting, many children struggle to master this skill. Now the struggle is over. Through simple, but amazingly effective techniques, your child can learn to handwrite easily and effectively within a few weeks via the Letter Land by Hand program developed by Dr. Marion Blank.

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Who is the program for?

Letter Land by Hand is aimed at children in the general school population, or those who will be going to the general school population. The program is designed to develop smooth, effective handwriting so that school and homework activities can be carried out with ease.

At what age can I start the program with my child?

Dr. Blank recommends starting the program when your child is 4 to 5 years old. If you do, smooth patterns of handwriting are established at the outset and school performance is greatly improved. However, if your child is already in the primary grades and is experiencing difficulty in handwriting, you can begin using this program at any time. The basic requirement is that your child should, without strain, be able to work on activities for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Till what age can the program be used?

Letter Land by Hand can be used with children of any age who need the skills it provides. However, it is best if the program is used up through about 8 years of age.

How long does a session take each day?

Each day's session takes only five to fifteen minutes, depending on your child's proficiency.

How many sessions should there be in a week?

The more frequent the sessions, the faster the progress. Children who are not yet in first grade should use the program at least four times per week. Children in first grade and up should use the program at least five times per week, and, if possible, they should use it every day.

Where does my child start in the program?

Letter Land by Hand contains five levels. Each child starts at Level 1 and progresses up to the next level when he or she has met the criterion indicating mastery of that level.

How long does it take for my child to complete the program?

Generally, the program takes about four to six weeks to complete. The length of time will vary depending on the frequency of the sessions and your child’s skill.

Why does the program concentrate on lower case letters and not capital letters?

Just as on this page, about 99% of the letters on any page of print are in lower case. If children learn to handwrite in capital letters, they end up having to deal with two different systems: one for reading and one for writing. By contrast, if they are given the same system, reading and writing support each other and both become easier to master.

Why does the program recommend not using letter names?

The focus of the program is on getting children to become aware of the shapes that they need to produce any and all letters. The names of the letters do not help them achieve this awareness. In some cases, they actually interfere as the child’s attention is focused on language (i.e., the names of the letters) and not on visual components (i.e., the shape of the letters). If your child names the letters as he or she creates them on the printed page, that is fine. But it is best if you do not encourage them to do so and if you avoid naming the letters as you carry out the lessons.

How do I know if my child is making progress?

You will notice obvious progress almost immediately. You will see your child easily producing well-formed letters and taking pride in his or her obvious skill. You will also see your child attaining the criterion needed to move to the next level.

Why do you encourage supporting the child’s hand?

Handwriting demands a set of fine motor skills. It has long been known that fine motor development is a slow process, with children often not achieving the skills they need until about 8 years of age. Any difficulties are greatly eased by providing the hand support that is outlined in the program. The support does not mean that you move your child’s hand to create the letters. Your role is to stabilize the hand, allowing the child the freedom to concentrate on the exact movements required to reproduce the shape of any letter.

How does Letter Land by Hand fit with the program my child is using in school?

In general, schools give relatively little attention to the development of efficient handwriting skills. The dominant philosophy is that children should concentrate on the message they want to express in writing, rather than the mechanics of writing itself. As a result, Letter Land by Hand typically is filling a vacuum that exists in handwriting instruction. However, if your child happens to be in a school that does offer handwriting instruction, Letter Land by Hand will work well with that instruction.

I am worried about my child's progress in handwriting, but my child's teacher tells me not to be concerned.
She says that children develop at different rates and he will catch up over time.

While the advice to be patient is well-intended, that is not how children perceive the situation. They want to do well and any difficulties they experience are seen as proof that they are in some way inadequate. The long-term, negative effects on morale are enormous and should be avoided at all costs. Why not offer your child every opportunity for success? There is no advantage in waiting for things to clear up and every advantage in helping your child succeed right now.