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1. demonstrate and introduce a spacing-strategy that: doesn't slow him down by
requiring him to stop after every word for long enough to push/drop/otherwise
maneuver some object into place before he can start the next word

2. doesn't risk making unrealistically large and distracting spaces in the writing,
now or when he grows older/bigger and will probably write smaller, and

3. Doesn’t require (or risk making him dependent on) doing something (putting in
fingers/sticks) which competent writers do not actually do.

Stop asking him to insert fingers/sticks after his words, and instead teach him to
leave enough space after words to put in an "n" (for "nothing") in his own
handwriting-size. (If an "n" looks a shade too small for your
Notion of spacing, use an "N")

You can demonstrate this by writing some phrase for him in big, black marker with
- instead of spaces between the words - an "n" or "N" between each word (written
lightly in pencil of a contrasting color: try his favorite color). It would look a bit
like this:weNgoNtoNschool ( = we go to school) Do this - talk about how you
made the N so light to stand for "nothing" - then have him trace over the phrase
(hand-over-hand with you but skipping the light-penciled "N"-spacers ... then do the
same phrase again with the "N"s or "n"s just left out, and have him trace it that
way. Do it with different phrases that he likes and/or that he has in his daily
reading/writing. Then eventually see if he can just "think an n-space - the size of
the same 'n's that you write - in between the words: leave enough of an n-space so
that an n from your own real writing could really sit there."

Whatever size he writes, in first grade or afterwards, remind him that the
"nothing" between words has to fit an "n" of that size of writing. As he gets bigger
and his writing (probably) gets smaller, he can thereby adjust this strategy to
meet his needs for as long as he needs it. (When you present kids with a strategy
that they *cannot* "tweak" somehow as their needs change, once you actually do
persuade them to learn/use the strategy you may end up with some very weird
results. For example, some teens and even some adults - leave *huge* spaces
between words because they had eventually learned all-too-well to "make your
spaces as wide as your finger". Even though they no longer actually put down their
fingers to measure spaces between their words, they still knew how much space
their adult-sized fingers could cover ... so they still carefully, dutifully, put an
adult-sized-finger's worth of space after each and every word of their adult-sized
writing: giving it the "swimming        in      empty        space" appearance
demonstrated above.
Children are going to have to create spaces with out a visual aid. Therefore, don't
encourage using dashes, fingers for more than a session or two, if at all. First work
on the concept of a sentence which is made up of words. Write a sentence on a
board\page and ask the kids "How many words are in the sentence?" You can't
imagine how many kids actually start counting letters. So first make sure that the
kids understand letter\word\sentence concepts.

Stage 2 is clapping out sentences. But insist that the clap is the space . For
instance if the sentence is: I rode my bike today. WE clap like this: I CLAP rode
CLAP my CLAP bike CLAP today. Make sure that the kids can use the correct
rhythm, a clap ON the word is not accepted, because the clap represents the
space. So if they clap on the word, we try again until they can say each word, and
clap in between. If your kid gets sick of clapping (they don't so fast, they LOVE
clapping or banging the table REALLY hard!!!! Just keep the sentences amusing and
they will continue!) You can jump the sentence (each jump is the space, not the
word) or give the kid some pennies or any small item to hold, and every time he
stops saying the word, he puts down the penny, and thus creates the spaces as he
"speaks" the sentence. The next stage is actual writing. The child says a
sentence\reads a sentence, and writes the sentence, and every time he finishes
writing a word they bang the table (quietly, like a little angel of course!!!) and that
reminds the child to space. This usually goes on for about 2-3 weeks, one session a
wk. with the parent\teacher reinforcing this.. And presto, they start to create
spaces on their own.

This is a good graded activity because of the visualizing element (no visual cue,
they do the visualizing),the kinesthetic feedback that they receive from banging,
jumping, placing etc, and the connection between speaking and spacing, which is not
so apparent when we speak normally.