Handwriting in Alwyn
In Alwyn we think it is vital children learn to form their letters accurately before they begin to join. We follow the Pen Pals scheme which incorporates body/finger exercises, patterns, letter formation and joins with break letters (letters that do not join).
First off we start big…. Gross motorskills are the big body movements we make and help give us a sense of core stability. They are important for being able to sit up, sit still and sit straight in order to write. We use PE/outdoor activities help support this.
Handwriting also involves the smaller fine motor skills- the use of muscles in the hands and small controlled movements and strength that need to be developed. Children begin learning letter formation by taking part in activities and pattern work that use fine motor control, such as using the tweezers, lego and playdoh. All of these activities improve the children’s manual dexterity and finger strength so they can hold and move a pencil.
You can do a lot of this at home to develop their hand skills even if your child is not ready to start writing. As well as the above, encourage tying shoelaces and buttoning shirts will help. Playdough is great but what about making bread with real dough. Try to have plenty of different types and sizes of drawing materials around - chalks, paint, felt tips, chunky crayons.
To begin with, the children make lots of patterns – in the air, with body movements and with mark making. The children have the opportunity to practice patterns of shapes that are used in letter formation. They can do them in the air, on backs, on the carpet or on paper in different mediums. (pens, pencils, felt tips, paint, chalk or just their finger).
We teach the children basic letter formation in letter families in reception. In Year 1, the children continue to practice the letter families, numbers and in the summer term they start looking at joins. We have 2 types of joins- a diagonal join and a horizontal join. In year 2 they continue to learn and practice the 2 joins and presentation skills with the aim that all children will be able to form all letters correctly, most will be using some joins and some children will be consistently joining.