Q:

My daughter, a second-grader, is a fidgeter. The fidgeting doesn't bother the other students and is not affecting the good work she does in school. She says that she fidgets because she is bored. Should we pay any attention to this? Her biggest problem in school is that her printing is totally unreadable. How can we help her improve her printing? -- Two Problems

A:

Don't worry about your daughter's fidgeting. She could be a little bit hyperactive, but she is coping well if this is the case. Many successful adults are fidgeters.

The real problem that you need to be concerned about is your child's poor printing. It doesn't sound like a new problem, but one that started in first grade when she first picked up a pencil.

Guided practice is probably necessary to improve her printing. Go back to the beginning and work with groups of letters that are related, because they are generally made of straight lines or curves. Start by having her trace the letters, then she should connect dashes to form the letters. Finally, she should reproduce them without any aids. If this doesn't work, she might require more intervention to improve her printing. There is always the possibility of a learning disability in this area.

Incidentally, this problem with printing could disappear next year as your child begins to use cursive handwriting. It is much easier for some children to do and is taught before printing in many countries.