Introducing Nexus Home Learning Pegs to Paper Programme
Nexus Home Learning ‘Pegs to Paper for handwriting’ is a programme designed to teach the basics of handwriting using the Nexus Giant Pegboard and Pegs. It can help all young children developing their handwriting skill but it is particularly useful for those who struggle.
What is involved?
The programme provides a series of exercises with the Giant Pegboard and Pegs to address letter shape, size and alignment, spacing and slant. It helps with the physical production of text, supporting good posture, body position, pencil control and pencil grip and in addition, secures the spatial and directional concepts required for writing letterforms.
This combination of physical and cognitive approaches to learning, using spatial and directional language, has been found to increase the child’s understanding of written text as well as helping to direct vital motor activity. Because all the patterns are copied onto paper, the child experiences a direct link between actively forming the lines, shapes and patterns on the pegboard and reproducing them as marks on the page, i.e. Pegs to Paper.
In order to gain maximum benefit from Pegs to Paper it is important that the pegboard and pegs are used in the following way:
The child should sit as he would to write, working at a table of the correct height (elbows at a right angle to the surface) and his feet flat on the floor (knees also at a right angle). The child should sit upright with his bottom in the middle of the seat.
The pegboard should be placed directly in front of the child. The pegs should be in an open container for easy access, e.g. a large ice cream carton, and this should be placed on the side of the non-writing hand (i.e. on the left for right-handers or vice versa).
Pegs should be picked up with the non-writing hand and transferred to the writing hand for pushing into the board. This integrated movement between the two hands is important and should be sustained throughout the exercises. When clearing the board, however, the child can use both hands together to grasp as many pegs as his hands will hold to strengthen his grasp.
Each peg must be held firmly with the whole hand whilst being pushed into the board. It should sit for snuggly in the palm of the hand while the thumb and first fingers grip the neck of the peg, strengthening muscles for the tripod pencil grasp. The ridges on the pegs give sensory feedback through the hand and when the pegs are pushed into the board, muscles appropriate to a firm grip in the hand and arm are also strengthened.
To ensure full understanding of the handwriting concepts, the child should be encouraged to use language to describe what he is doing at every stage. Begin by giving clear instructions using the correct words for each position and direction. This way the child learns the language and practises using it. For example, say: “Make a line of 10 green pegs down the left side of the peg board”
The child has to listen for information regarding number, colour, position and direction. Once the pegs have been placed into the board, ask him to tell you what he has just done (i.e. repeating the language that you supplied in the instruction). This should be the method of working at all times so that the child becomes fluent in using language to describe what they are doing.
Transference onto paper
When each exercise has been completed, the child copies the pattern onto paper. Begin by using the dots’ sheet supplied with these cards and the Nexus Triangular Whiteboard Pens.
Alternatively, print a sheet with a grid of 100 dots. At first, the dots should be approx.1.5 cm apart. As the child achieves greater control, this can be reduced to 1 cm. (Print several sheets in advance). The child draws circles around the dots to represent the pegs on the board. When drawing the circles make sure he always starts above the dot (or at “1 o’clock”) and circles anticlockwise (reinforcing the correct direction for the start of curved letters).
The circling is a vital part of ‘Pegs to Paper’ as, until the child can coordinate and reproduce this simple movement making every circle of the same size, he will not be able to attempt more complex letter shapes with any degree of accuracy. By copying the pegboard patterns onto the dots sheet he will get a great deal of practice of the circular anticlockwise movement essential for writing letters.
Remember: LISTEN, DO, SAY and DRAW every time!
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