How much practice is enough in Rocket Writing for Numerals?

Students balance a desire for comfortable mastery against a desire for novelty.

A home-schooling mom asks:
After having read the Rocket Writing for Numerals teacher’s directions, I have a question about implementation: Should I have her do the same page twice in one day (at separate times) to help her get more practice? After re-reading the teacher directions again today, I also think I need to go back and do more demonstration and air writing.

Dr. Don answers:
Regarding Rocket Writing for Numerals, the focus of the air writing and demonstrations is to achieve accuracy and consistency in the way to form the numeral. Once she consistently knows how to form the letter (starting in the right place, making the strokes in the right direction, etc) then the rest is developing the motor skills. More air writing is not needed once formation is consistently correct.

Yes, you can have her do a page twice in a day. How many days in a row is needed before you can move on to a new page is not established by research. It would be different for each student anyway. If you watch her, then you can decide, or you can encourage her to decide.

You want a page to become easy or routine for her. She doesn’t have to do it perfectly, but don’t move on if she still seems to be struggling or having to go very slowly. You should move on if she seems to be unchallenged by the page. You can also engage her in deciding if she feels she is ready to go on to the next sheet or wants to practice on the same page some more. Generally, once children get the idea of what it feels like to master a performance, they want to do so and students balance that desire for comfortable mastery against a desire for novelty. My favorite image is of skateboarders in the park who practice and practice until they have a particular move down–but then move on to try something new when they think they have it.

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