The benefits of using a Writing Slope
Reading time: 4 minutes
Writing slopes, sometimes referred to as writing slants or slant boards, are used for a variety of tasks beyond just traditional writing. Drawing, colouring, calligraphy and crafting are just a few of the additional uses for these boards.
With such versatility, it is useful to know the benefits that writing slopes provide.
This is perhaps the biggest benefit and the one which most people are looking for help with.
The majority of slopes are set around the optimum angle of 20°. Working at this angle pushes your back, shoulders and neck into a more upright and stable position. This in turn provides better distal control of your wrist and fingers for writing and drawing activities.
It is no surprise then that writing slopes can help to alleviate pains associated with the back, neck, shoulders and wrists when writing.
It’s important to note, however, that to gain the full posture benefits that a good writing slope can offer, best practices should be adhered to such as:
- i. The height of the work surface and the height of the chair – these should be at a height which allows your feet to sit flat on the floor with the knees bent at almost 90°. Your bottom should be pushed towards the back of the chair.
- ii. The distance between you and the writing surface/slope – there should be gap of about the size of your fist between you and the work surface.
- iii. The position of the slope – the slope should be placed close to the edge of the work surface. If it is place too far away it will be a stretch to reach your work.
- iv. The position of the writing page – It is recommended that right-handed writers turn their paper at an angle between 20° and 45° (anti-clockwise) in order to facilitate the writing process. For left-handers this angle is recommended to be between 30° and 45°. Holding the paper dead straight is not good handwriting practice.
- v. Keeping your upper body upright at all times
2. Copying & Taking Notes
Many of us spend a lot of time copying and taking notes whether it’s from a computer screen or a white board. Being in the correct seating position and using a slope facilitates this process.
3. Visual access
Writing slopes can help us reach the optimum distance between our eyes and our work so that reading and writing become easier. This distance can be achieved by maintaining the equivalent distance from that of our chin to our elbow. This is known as Harmon’s distance.
Harmon’s distance applies more than ever in today’s digital age of laptops and tablets. Writing slopes can provide a benefit when using these devices too. Whether it is typing, reading the screen or even giving presentations.
4. Arm Reach
Younger writers sometimes have difficulty reaching the entire paper while flat on a desk. A good-sized writing slope set at the right angle reduces the reach from the top to the bottom of the page. The slope should make using the non-writing hand (known has the supportive or non-dominant hand) easier to reach the paper; this is necessary to provide paper stability when writing. Handwriting should be a two-handed task involving both the writing and supporting hand.
5. Wrist extension and Grasp
When handwriting the best body position for an efficient hold of a writing tool is in wrist extension – this is when the wrist is bending upwards towards you. The angled position of the writing slope promotes this position.
This in turn provides better support for holding a writing instrument properly for legible and fluent handwriting. With the wrist in the correct position there should be less of a tendency to grip tightly onto the writing tool and less of a tendency to apply vast pressure into the page.
These are just some of the benefits of using a writing slope. If you require further assistance on best handwriting practices, the National Handwriting Association website www.nha-handwriting.org.uk provides good advice.
If you are thinking of purchasing a writing slope be sure to read our buying guide before doing so.
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