The skill of handwriting needs to be taught and a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting needs to be established.
To have a consistent cursive approach across the school to ensure high levels of presentation.
To adopt a common approach towards handwriting by all adults when writing in books, on the whiteboard, on displays and resources.
To enable children to achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in cursive handwriting.
To enable children to develop fluency and speed whilst writing
As recommended by the British Dyslexia Association, we adopt a continuous cursive style of writing. It’s most important feature is that each letter is formed without taking the pencil off the paper. Consequently, each word is formed in one, flowing movement.
The key advantages of this script:
By making each letter in one movement, children’s hands develop a ‘physical memory’ of it, making it easier to produce the correct shape;
The starting and finishing points for all Continuous Cursive letters are easier to remember (they all start on the line and, other than a few exceptions, all finish on the line)
As letters and words flow from left to right, children are less likely to reverse letters which are typically difficult (ie b/d, p/q)
There is a clear distinction between capital letters and lowercase;
The transition to joined writing is simple and occurs sooner, allowing children to concentrate on the composition of the writing, rather than thinking how to form the letters.
Words written in one set of movements, without the pen being taken off the paper, helps the motor memory store spellings.
The continuous flow of writing ultimately improves speed and spelling.
(The British Dyslexia Association)
Effective teaching of handwriting can only be achieved through modelling. Teachers must demonstrate letter formation and joins regularly and children must practice by carefully copying and repeating. During discrete handwriting, it is important to observe children writing to ensure they are forming letters correctly.
We will teach children the dynamic tripod grasp detailed in the picture below.
This should be reinforced at the start of every formal writing session in EYFS and KS1 and handwriting lessons in KS2. In KS1 other grips should be corrected. A close eye needs to be kept on children developing an awkward grip and a plan put into place. Although the basic tripod grasp is often considered to be the only ‘correct’ way to hold the writing instrument, there are a number of alternative grips which also work well. If a child has established a grip that he or she finds reasonably comfortable for long periods, it often causes more problems than it solves to insist that he/she change it.
Good handwriting relies on hand eye coordination and secure motor control. Therefore during the Foundation Stage, we will provide lots of opportunities for the children to develop physical control through large scale movements, manipulative skills and fine motor control.
Pupils should be taught to:
Sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly
Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct position, starting and finishing in the right place
Form capital letters
Form digits 0-9
Pupils should be taught to:
Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another
Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters
In the Autumn term, letter formation is taught. As soon as Sound Set One has been taught, additional handwriting sessions are then introduced. Children will focus on the pre-cursive script.
Year 1:Handwriting is taught discretely up to 4 times a week for 20 minutes.
Year 2: Handwriting is taught discretely, 3 times a week for 15-20 minutes.
Our aim is to make the transition into continuous cursive during years 1 and 2 depending on the ability of the children.
All children will write with a pencil and ae able to earn a pen licence once their handwriting is fluently cursive.
Posture should be taught explicitly and children reminded at the start of every formal writing session until it becomes habitual. Children should sit with the upper body reasonably upright and squarely facing the writing surface, with feet on the floor and the non-writing hand supporting the work. Right-handers should rotate the surface slightly to the left. Avoid allowing pupils to rotate the paper further and further until the lines are virtually vertical, as this can become a habit difficult to break. Left-handers should either sit next to each other or on the left of a right hander so that elbows do not clash. Left-handers should rotate the writing surface slightly to the right.
New teachers and teaching assistants should be given a copy of the handwriting policy and some training if necessary. The senior leader will be responsible for monitoring that new staff are following the policy. The senior leadership team will monitor new staff during the monitoring process of lesson observations and work scrutinies. New children in EYFS and KS1 will be taught to use the continuous cursive style. Those whose handwriting is not functional when they arrive will be taught using our continuous cursive style.
Children experiencing difficulties with their handwriting will be brought to the attention of the SENDCo and a programme of intervention will be set up as appropriate.
Parents are provided with a list of ideas to support children at different stages of handwriting e.g. pre-writing activities, a copy of the letter formation and patter.
We will provide our main pre-school feeder providers with a copy of our handwriting script and patter, however children should not be pressurised to write when they are not ready to do so.
Children in EYFS are assessed on an ongoing basis through observation and handwriting forms part of this. Within Key Stage One handwriting is monitored during work scrutinies and is assessed as part of the children’s writing assessments.