Strategies to improve handwriting:
There are many enjoyable activities which help young children to develop the strength and dexterity in their fingers which are necessary for holding and controlling a pencil or pen.
Fine motor activities: these involve controlling and manipulating their hands and fingers which will help strengthen. Activity ideas could include: modelling with play dough (rolling a ball, sausage, stretching it, squeezing etc), doing simple jigsaw puzzles, tracing pictures, colouring, threading beads, using tweezers to pick and sort objects, following dot-to-dot pictures, doing up buttons, cutting out shapes or cutting down zigzag lines.
Paper: do not write on plain paper. This gives free range on size and quality of writing. Make sure when practising the children have lines to write inside of. This ensures a baseline for letters to sit on and a place for ascender (b, d, h, k, l, t) and descender (f, g, j, p, q, y) to go.
Formation: formation of letters is very important and commonly in KS1 the children are likely to reverse some letters (like getting b and d the wrong way around). This is common! Try grouping letters when practising, for example: ‘k, b, a, c, p, t’ one week and then move on to ‘ d, m, i, g, q’ the following (groups formed as an example – can make any groups needed).The common reversals are not in the same group, this is to help with mastery of one before adding in a variation of that letter.
Silly reminders: Children love to laugh and learn best when something is fun and enjoyable – make writing the same! Try to make silly reminders for them to remember how to form a letter, such as: ‘b’ – draw the man’s body and give him a big round tummy/belly, whereas ‘d’ has a big round bottom!
Use visuals: Show them the ‘thumbs up’ trick – left hand looks like a ‘b’ and the right hand a ‘d’. Use British Sign Language (BSL) to finger spell. This is a great fine motor skill activity and gives the children a visual. Class 2 have just added the BSL alphabet to their guided reading!
Make up rhymes: Hearing and using rhyme, rhythm and repetition helps children develop early literacy skills and they’ve been exposed to this kind of learning since the very beginning! Use rhymes/songs to help remember letter formation, for example: ‘The ‘B’ ‘b’s like to walk… but the ‘D’ ‘d’s like to talk.
Tactile handwriting: Learning formations and handwriting doesn’t have to be done just on paper – be tactile. Most children love to get their hands messy, so use this to your advantage. Finger painting, writing in sand, shaving foam or put hair gel into a zip lock bag and place over some letter print outs. A very simple one is air writing. Using one finger as your pencil, draw the letter in the air making sure you really exaggerate each part to the letter. Extend air writing a little and draw on each others backs or hands. This way the children can feel how the letter is formed and it’s a great game for them to figure out the letter or word.
Describe the letter: When practising handwriting, use words to describe or instruct. “Start at the top, curl around. Go straight up and come back down with a little flick”.
Thank you for all the continued help at home and if you would like any support please let the class teacher or myself know.