Introducing handwriting

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.
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

a start at the top and form a round tummy sitting on the line
b has a straight back and a ‘fat tummy’ and sits on the line
c is curved and the bottom of the curve sits on the line
d you start the tummy of the letter which sits on the line and then it has a straight back
e sits on the line
f you start at the top and only the bottom sits on the line
g you start with the tummy and then the tail is below the line
hTwo legs of the h sit on the line
i is smaller than l and sits on the line
j has a tail below the line
k has a straight back on the line and two kicking feet
l is tall and thin and sits on the line
m has three feet all the same size, on the line
n is like a tunnel and is on the line
o is a circle on the line
p has a tail below the line and a fat tummy
q has a fat tummy and a straight back below the line
r sits on the line
s sits on the line and is like a wriggly snake
t sits on the line and has two arms
u the bottom of the u sits on the line
v goes down and up and the point sits on the line
w has two points on the line
x crosses in the middle and sits on the line
y is like a v but the tail is below the line
z has a head and the feet sit 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.


My own book
Colouring pictures
The start of handwriting
Handwriting patterns


Write the beginning letter
Letters abcde
How to teach your child to write
Teach your child to write


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