Handwriting dos and don’ts

Girl practising handwriting
Practising handwriting at home doesn’t have to be about copying out rows of letters and reaching writing targets. Make writing fun with these helpful tips from primary school teacher Phoebe Doyle.

Handwriting can sometimes be boxed into certain areas, with an emphasis on learning key words and ‘proper’ handwriting. But opening our minds to what constitutes a valuable writing activity is the key to inspiring kids to be motivated to write, and not just for their school assignments. Children should be given opportunities to write for themselves, without pressure – just for the enormous value and sheer joy the activity holds. Get started by following our tips.

Do…

  • Be positive, supporting and encouraging.
  • Be a good role model, and let them ‘catch you writing’! Explain what and why you are writing, even if it’s just a shopping list, a birthday card or a note to the teacher.
  • Have a writing space, a table or area dedicated to writing activities.
  • Make writing fun! Write tongue twisters using alliteration, or funny poems together, taking it in turns to note down what you come up with.
  • Let your child work at their own pace, so they’ll build up speed and skill naturally.
  • If they bring written work back from school, offer special rewards (stickers, certificates to post on the fridge, etc).

Don’t…

  • Pile on the pressure – encourage independent learning by letting your child strengthen their handwriting skill at a pace that suits them.
  • Compare against peers – remember all children develop at different times and stages.
  • Fret too much over misspellings or poor handwriting – they can’t concentrate on everything at once!

Try this…

Have a special box for your writing materials, including:

  • Pens of all kinds
  • Envelopes
  • Special letter-writing paper
  • Child-safe scissors and stapler (needed for making books)
  • Pencils – sparkly, coloured, whatever!
  • Files and folders
  • Different sizes and colours of paper

Find out how your child learns to write, and try fun writing projects that boost literacy skills with your child.