Teaching Handwriting

Age Range: 5 - 11

How do you encourage pupils to write with neat handwriting? How do your support pupils who struggle with their handwriting?

Explore our ideas and then add your own suggestions in the comments...

Mark Warner:

Lots of interactive whiteboard software (e.g. Smart Notebook) have recording tools built-in. Why not use this to record your own handwriting and then play it back again and again to show children how letters are formed?

Niamh O'Neill:

I'm a secondary teacher who struggles with her own writing. I found that it was easier to read my writing and it looked less daunting for an examiner if I wrote on every 2nd line in an answer book i.e. left a line space between each line of writing and I suggest this technique to some of my students. 
I also believe that although cursive (joint) writing may be quicker for pupils with untidy writing in print style is often better. 
I hated it at the time because it was cumbersome, but one of my teachers gave me a button and made me put the button down at the end of every word before writing the next word, this improved my writing a lot as the words were spaced out more (still are thanks to him) so again it was easier to read. 
In my experience don't give left handed children cartridge pens to write with (or pens where the ink takes a little time to dry), even with the special left handed ones the work gets smudged even with the best efforts of the child to avoid smudging it.

Kate Papageorgiou:

I have been teaching handwriting in secondary schools and to primary age students with dyspraxia or dysgraphia. I am finding that lots of drawing pattersn and getting them to draw small patterns is important even wtih older kids. Lots of practice just putting dots on the page in the right place and drawing lines the right length all helps. 
It is important to look at how the pen/pencil is being held and get a correct grip to suit, not just a cheep foam one, but a corectly shaped on to help them aquire a near tripod grip.
Use of carbonated paper underneath for several layers of paper will help them see just how hard they press and then encourage them the try to stelth write, leaving no imprint.
Repeated patterns can be followed with repeated letters and this can be followed with short words using repeated joins and similar shaped letters to make it easy to learn.
Teaching touch typing at the same time can help.
Try doing movement excersises to stregnthen upper body and to help the child learn to orientate. Use Take time - a book to help inspire you here.
Many dyspraxics and dyslexics are quite random with orientation of letters, you will find that they are also random with orientation of such things as lego bricks while following model instructions - get some simple lego models which are not symetrical and make them follow the instruction with your support, think Vygotsky. This will help them learn the importance of orientation in all things and then you can reminde them how important it is in writing.

If you have any of your own suggestions, please leave a comment below...

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Mark Warner

Lots of interactive whiteboard software (e.g. Smart Notebook) have recording tools built-in. Why not use this to record your own handwriting and then play it back again and again to show children how letters are formed?

Rating: 
0

Niamh O' Neill

I'm a secondary teacher who struggles with her own writing. I found that it was easier to read my writing and it looked less daunting for an examiner if I wrote on every 2nd line in an answer book i.e. left a line space between each line of writing and I suggest this technique to some of my students. I also believe that although cursive (joint) writing may be quicker for pupils with untidy writing in print style is often better. I hated it at the time because it was cumbersome, but one of my teachers gave me a button and made me put the button down at the end of every word before writing the next word, this improved my writing a lot as the words were spaced out more (still are thanks to him) so again it was easier to read. In my experience don't give left handed children cartridge pens to write with (or pens where the ink takes a little time to dry), even with the special left handed ones the work gets smudged even with the best efforts of the child to avoid smudging it.

Rating: 
0

Kate Papageorgiou

I have been teaching handwriting in secondary schools and to primary age students with dyspraxia or dysgraphia. I am finding that lots of drawing pattersn and getting them to draw small patterns is important even wtih older kids. Lots of practice just putting dots on the page in the right place and drawing lines the right length all helps. It is important to look at how the pen/pencil is being held and get a correct grip to suit, not just a cheep foam one, but a corectly shaped on to help them aquire a near tripod grip.Use of carbonated paper underneath for several layers of paper will help them see just how hard they press and then encourage them the try to stelth write, leaving no imprint.Repeated patterns can be followed with repeated letters and this can be followed with short words using repeated joins and similar shaped letters to make it easy to learn.Teaching touch typing at the same time can help.Try doing movement excersises to stregnthen upper body and to help the child learn to orientate. Use Take time - a book to help inspire you here.Many dyspraxics and dyslexics are quite random with orientation of letters, you will find that they are also random with orientation of such things as lego bricks while following model instructions - get some simple lego models which are not symetrical and make them follow the instruction with your support, think Vygotsky. This will help them learn the importance of orientation in all things and then you can reminde them how important it is in writing.

Rating: 
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Penny Mitton

I note the comment that left handed children struggle with ink/cartridge/fountain pens. As a left-hander who always writes with a fountain pen I find this attitude difficult to comprehend. If children are taught to angle their paper correctly, writing with a fountain pen is no more difficult than a pencil. Some of my private pupils can't wait for me to give then their own ink pen and find their writing flows over the page much better AND they stop pressing so hard it goes through the paper.

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