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Helping children get their writing back on track

By Kaelanne Jordan, mediarelations.camsel@catholictt.org

Veronica Carasquero, author of Penmanship Perfect is a devoted teacher at Diego Martin Boys’ RC. Her new book is targeted at preschoolers, and early primary students: Infants One and Two. However, anyone who has difficulty in penmanship no matter the level can use the book. Carasquero, a teacher for over 30 years, has taught at several pre-schools from the age of 17. Her passion has been and continues to be, seeing children excel in the skills of writing (penmanship) and reading.

Veronica Carasquero

She holds a Diploma in Montessori Teaching from the London Montessori Centre, a Bachelors in Education (Hons), the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and a Master’s in Education,  the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

Carasquero is the holder of a certificate from ‘The Jolly Phonics’ programme which focuses on the teaching of letter sounds and writing formation and a certificate from The University of the West Indies ‘The 101 on Teaching your Child to Write’.

She is a member of the Diego Martin Carnival Committee, a group that encourages participation of children to be part of their culture and a member of a floral group at the Church of the Nativity, Diego Martin. Carasquero is also the founder of Spiritual Learners Bible stories classes.

Q: What does Penmanship Perfect explore?

The book explores the structure of the formation of the letters by groupings and it is also guided by the numbering of the structure of the letters. It focuses on manuscript, however, there is a bit more to this in terms of preparation to cursive writing. There are some fundamental tips for parents, teachers, guardians, and anyone who chooses to use this book.

Q: What sparked your interest to produce a book on penmanship?

I choose penmanship because of the challenges and successes encountered over the years. There was a need for me to see children’s writing improved because I knew it could be accomplished. Pre-pandemic, in the classroom there was always a challenge in producing perfect penmanship writers. Also, through the pandemic, penmanship was compromised a bit and therefore it was time to get the writing back on track.

Q: What’s the goal in producing this book?

To help students of any level to have a high standard of writing. Therefore, an early foundation is important and should begin from preschoolers.

Q: Discuss the importance of having good penmanship

There are so many reasons why having good penmanship is paramount. Good penmanship boosts self-esteem, confidence, pride. Legibility contributes to interpretation of what was written, in addition, fluency as one reads it. Most examinations are written; therefore, penmanship must be recognisable by the person correcting the script.

In a recent conversation with a friend, we shared [that] in a lot of cases, secondary school students take pride in their handwriting. It’s like a competition to see who is the best. Thereafter, the handwriting goes out the window in the work world in a lot of cases. However, once proper formation was nurtured, the skill is never lost, but just need practicing. It’s like riding a bike, that skill is never forgotten – that’s if you learnt to ride a bike.

Q: It’s said handwriting reveals personality. Is there any truth to this?

On one occasion, there was this boy in my class at Standard Three who produced a small, slanted, script and he was an introvert. Research suggested that. With that being said, my experiences over the years have mixed reactions to this.

Q: Do you believe that the digital age is changing how we write?

I think it is…in responding to different mediums be it email or messaging. In addition, children choosing the correct answers on their device as a selection process. Some children find it to be an easy, quick medium and prefer that. Therefore, typing and not writing is done and their little fingers get less practice holding a pencil or pen and putting it to paper….and that handwriting practice is essential.

Q: Why do you think persons struggle with handwriting?

There are different factors that can inhibit handwriting skills. To me it all boils down to foundation. A proper foundation sets the tone for good handwriting.

Q: What tips can you give to persons who want to improve their handwriting?

Pre-writing skills…that’s what should start the ball rolling. As simple as it sounds, writing does not begin with pencil and paper. The child’s fine motor skills need to be strengthened for good pencil grasping.

For example, using playdoh, scooping peas with a spoon from one bowl to another and repeat, pouring exercises, scissors cutting exercises, placing pegs/clips on a wide rimmed basket, colouring, drawing, to name a few.

In addition, practical life exercises also assist such as buttoning, zipping, buckling, and tying of shoe lacings as outlined by Maria Montessori. Thereafter, scribbling, pre-writing patterns (tracing of lines) then free drawing of lines, then onto letters.

Q: Can you talk a bit about the path you took to writing and publishing this book?

The path to writing this book was a passionate, self-driven experience. I reflected on my mother’s passion to teach me at home, as there were few pre-schools in that era. My mother Lilian would purchase books to teach my brothers and I to learn to read and write.

In addition, my primary school, Paramin RC, was where my formal foundation was derived, realising it all stemmed from there as I recalled how I write.

Proper formation begins in the early years. Furthermore, thanking The Jolly Phonics programme course coordinators and my experience over the years, I saw the benefit to incorporate my vast experiences to assist students. It was a lot of short night rest and project-oriented weekends with the computer.


Penmanship Perfect is available at Mohammed 1988 LTD, Michael Mohammed Bookstore.

Persons can contact 742-4010. Follow on Instagram @ penmanship.perfect or Email penmanship.perfect@gmail.com