What is it? Using two fingers on the dominant hand, the tutor models letter formation and then sounds out the letter. Then the student is instructed to write the letter in the sky three times independently while saying the letter sound. This is a multi sensory way of learning, which is the hallmark of Orton Gillingham’s educational philosophy.
It is very effective.
However, in my experience skywriting feels awkward and results in me wanting to rush through the letters. My own discomfort distracts from me teaching the skill being demonstrated. My students agree that it is awkward and uncomfortable.
That’s why I encourage taking a few moments before sky writing and ask your student to help you create a tool to help with sky writing. This activity helps your student become the expert for a moment and fosters confidence, trust, and cooperation.
My 4 year old and I created fairy wands, but really you could create a number of different tools depending on the students interests — swords, wizard wands, conductors’ batons — the sky’s the limit (okay that was probably a little too corny). At any rate once a tool is created that the student is proud of they are often willing to use big exaggerated swooshing movements which are held high and involve more full body movement.
Dyslexia tutoring is two fold. Yes, of course I want to build confidence in reading but even more than that I want to inspire and build confidence in general — and skywriting accomplishes that.
So how do you make a sky writing tool?
Rosie and I made a really simple one the other day by cutting a heart out of cardboard. Then we found a stick in the backyard. We covered both the stick and heart with tinfoil. Then we used LOTS of hot glue to stick the heart and stick together. Finally Rosie covered her wand with stickers, puff balls, ribbons, and beads. It certainly wasn’t Pinterest worthy, but it did the job and she was proud of it. Immediately — even before the glue dried — she began waving it in the air and I knew it was ready to do its job.
Maybe you’re looking for something a little more Pinterest worthy. Here are some links to wands you can make.
Whatever you choose to design, remember this is for your child and the more involved in the design process they are the better.