As soon as children start to write, they should be taught to hold the crayon or pencil correctly. If the proper grip is used right from the beginning it leads to better practice in later life. It also means that when the time comes for children to start to join up their writing they will find that this grip makes the writing flow more easily. The pencil should be held in a tripod grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. Only one finger should actually be on top of the pencil.
Children should be encouraged at an early age to draw patterns across the page. This helps the hand and eye co-ordination of left to right. It also helps with the flow of letters to come later.
They should use paint, crayons, coloured pencils and be given plenty of large piece of paper to scribble on. Many people think these pictures are meaningful drawings to young children and deserve to be admired and some of them displayed. Especially if you make stars or animals with your child, praise and interest certainly encourages them, improves concentration and gives the child the desire to try again.
Children’s first introduction to letters is usually through you pointing out their name. Write their name on the pictures, on their coat for nursery, on their pencil case so that they gradually get used to seeing it. Some children will learn to read by the shape of the word.
When you read a story other words can be introduced and the letters that they know pointed out to them. Many of the children’s television programmes do this all the time.
A child always learns to write on a large piece of paper with no lines. They will not at first connect the letters together but may have all the letters of a word anywhere on the paper.
The next stage is when they realise or learn that the letters need to be together. The writing will be large and shaky. Children again need encouragement at this stage. Gradually they will become more sure and their control will get better. As they gain confidence they progress to smaller paper and then to lines.
Some children need to told that the letters should ‘sit’ on the lines. It is really confusing for little ones as some letters have ‘tails’ and some have ‘straight backs’. Usually children are only started on lower case letters. They should always be introduced to putting capitals at the beginning of a name e.g. Katie or Monday etc. This is because it is the way that they are always going to see that word. Also many of the letters in English can be formed in different ways. It is always useful to ask the school what handwriting scheme they use.
|The computer font ‘Comic Sans’ has the correct ‘ a’ for young children. |
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a start at the top and form a round tummy sitting on the line
This is the introduction to writing. Cursive (joined-up) writing is introduced as soon as the children are confident and well before they start key stage 2. Cursive writing is a natural progression, as in most cases it is often just a tail being added to the letter. All our handwriting pages can be found here.