At Rockbeare, we use Letter-join as a model for handwriting. This covers all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum.
We believe handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting.
We aim for our pupils to develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters that leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing. Our aim is to help pupils enjoy learning and developing their handwriting with a sense of achievement and pride.
By the end of Year 6, pupils will understand the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.
In order that children eventually acquire a legible, fluent and fast handwriting style, they develop skills including:
- good gross and fine motor control
- a recognition of pattern
- a language to talk about shapes and movements
- the main handwriting movements involved in the three basic letter shapes as exemplified by: l, c, r.
Key Stage 1:
Handwriting is one area that is assessed towards achieving age related expectations for writing. Below are the statutory criteria for assessment although our school is aiming for all of our pupils to be writing in a fully cursive script as their motor skills develop. At the end of Key Stage 1:
Working towards the expected standard:
- form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place
- form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another in some of their writing
- use spacing between words.
Working at the expected standard:
- form 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.
Working above the expected standard:
- use the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join some letters.
Key Stage 2:
Handwriting is one area that is assessed towards achieving age related expectations for writing. Below are the statutory criteria for assessment although our school is teaching a fully cursive script:
Working towards the expected standard:
- write legibly (at this standard, there is no specific requirement for a pupil’s handwriting to be joined).
Working at or above the expected standard:
- maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed (the National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to ‘use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined’.
Our teachers are encouraged to use neat, joined-up cursive writing for all handwriting tasks including writing on interactive boards, marking and comments in children’s books.
Handwriting is a cross-curriculum task and is taken into consideration during all lessons. Formal teaching of handwriting is carried out weekly and systematically to ensure Key Stage targets are met.
For our youngest pupils we teach handwriting on a daily basis, which include the following:
- Movements to enhance gross motor skills such as air-writing, pattern making, dancing.
- Exercises to develop fine motor skills such as making marks on paper, whiteboards, blackboards, sand trays, iPads and tablets.
- Letter learning to familiarise letter shapes, formation and vocabulary.
We are introducing Scribble Club and Drawing Club to our EYFS unit. These are programmes designed to develop the skills as mentioned above. More information will follow about these exciting programmes shortly.
Years 1 to 2:
Handwriting is approached through the Sounds Write programme. This focuses on:
- Gross and fine motor skills exercises.
- Letter formation
- Cursive handwriting reinforcement (Year 2), learning and practice.
- Numerals, capitals and printed letters: where and when to use, learning and practice.
Years 3 to 6:
More advanced handwriting techniques will be taught during weekly lessons of 20 to 30 minutes teaching:
- Cursive handwriting re-enforcement.
- Form-filling/labelling using printed and capital letters.
- Dictation exercises to teach the need for quick notes and speedy handwriting writing.
- During years 3-4, children will progress from a pencil to pen once they have achieved fluent and consistent fully joined handwriting.
Legible and accurate handwriting is encouraged throughout all areas of the curriculum and is therefore an on-going focus every day.
Correct posture and pencil grip for handwriting:
- Pupils are taught to sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly.
The tripod pencil grip:
Both right and left-handed children are encouraged to use the tripod grip which allows the pen/pencil to be held securely whilst allowing controlled movements of the pen/pencil nib.
Left-handed children may find it difficult to follow right-handed teachers as they demonstrate letter formation (and vice versa). Teachers will demonstrate to left-handers on an individual or group basis.
Inclusion and support:
Children whose handwriting is limited by problems with fine motor skills, including left-handed children, and children with special educational needs, will be given one-to-one tuition to help achieve their optimum handwriting level. Useful aids include pencil grips, triangular shape pencil/pen and hand supports. We also utilise electronic tools to enable children to succeed in writing, if fine motor skills are a recognised barrier to learning.
Pencils and pens:
Children are encouraged to start handwriting using a soft pencil. When fine motor skills have been established a handwriting pen can be used. We explore different pen types to ensure that each child has a pen that suits them.