We feel it is important to support children to develop neat, attractive and consistent handwriting. The development of an efficient, legible style assists pupils in all forms of written recording. We want to help children with layout, presentation and the way they organise themselves on paper. If success is achieved in this area, they have pride in their written work, tend to be better at spelling and are more motivated to write. Getting the right habits established early on is key to future success. We appreciate that some children find this more difficult than others and will offer additional support or alternative ways of recording when necessary.
Standards in handwriting are very high at our school. We use the Nelson handwriting scheme. Handwriting books are available for parents to order from the school office. As soon as pupils are able to orientate their letters correctly, they are taught how to join their letters. Short, focused handwriting sessions are taught on a regular basis. Handwriting has a high focus and a high status at our school. Early in the school year a house handwriting competition is held. Examples of exceptional written content, presented to a very high standard are abundant in framed work that is installed on both school sites. These raise the expectation for what is possible.
To see the outcomes of our handwriting competition on our gallery page click here
Why is handwriting important? How can you help at home?
The essential four bases for an efficient pencil grip are
- Postural stability
- Tactile perception
- Hand function
- Bilateral coordination
Click here for a document about how you can help with this.
By the end of Key Stage 1, we’d like all children to be able to hold a pencil with an efficient grip and be able to write without their hand aching. Children develop at different rates but below is a rough guide of our aims and expectations in each year group. To achieve this, we continue to work on the children’s gross and fine motor skills throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 to ensure they are strong enough to achieve the goals.
Nursery – Children can mark make using a variety of tools (chalk, pens, pencils, paint brushes) and give meaning to some of their marks. Children are beginning to form letters that having personal meaning (name writing)
Reception – Children are beginning to form most lowercase and capital letters correctly. Most letters are uniform in size and start and end in the right place. The children are encouraged to hold their pencil with a tripod grasp using appropriate pressure on the page.
Year 1 – In Year 1, the children continue to work on forming their lower case and capital letters accurately. They secure their understanding of where each letter starts and the direction to form it in. The children are encouraged to hold their pencil with a tripod grasp. By the end of the year, most children are forming their letters accurately and on the line, in a consistent size and with appropriate size spacing.
Year 2 – In Year 2, we start to teach the children how to join the letters. We also continue to work on the children holding the pencil with an efficient grip. By the end of the year, most children are joining their writing.
Lower Key Stage 2 – The children are continued to be encouraged to hold their pencils with an efficient grip and sit with the correct posture. They are writing a lot more in a lesson and so stamina is important. Handwriting lessons continue to focus on accurate formation of letters and joins.
Ascenders, descenders and x height letters
X height letters are letters that are the height of a lower case x. This is most of the letters in the alphabet.
Ascenders are letters that are tall. They should be double the height of an x height letter.
Descenders are letters that have a tail that goes through the line that the letters are sitting on. The tails should be the same size as the part of the letter that is sat on the line.
Forming the letters
To ensure the children have consistency when learning to form the letters, we teach how we form the letters in a certain way.
To see how we teach the letters, you can either watch the videos below or click here to see a document with the wording we use.
Forming curved letters
Forming letters that start by going down
Forming bridge and bowl letters
Forming the remaining letters
Joining the letters
Joining the letters
We teach the children that you do not join out of a b, g, j, p, q, x, or y.
We also teach them that you do not join into or out of the letter z.
Useful documents for supporting at home
Nelson Handwriting Workbooks
We use the Nelson Handwriting font to teach the children to form letters and joins.
You can purchase these to use at home with your children. You can find these on online, such as on Amazon.
Workbook 1A goes over all the individual letters (see picture below).
Workbook 1B introduces the joins.