Let’s be honest, this year we need things to celebrate, and nothing can be better for your mental health than putting pen to paper or stylus to tablet and getting those thoughts down. So, we must teach children the skill of handwriting.
We spoke to Andrew Clark, Apple Teacher and Deputy Head at Chorley St James C.E. Primary School, who gave us his seven simple steps for achieving handwriting mastery in the classroom.
Seven simple steps to achieve handwriting mastery
- Start at the very beginning it’s a perfect place to start
Can the pupil hold a pencil correctly? Do they have control of the pencil? Start by assessing them to see if they can write necessary lowercase letters. Making it fun for pupils is the key to keeping then engages.
- Letter formation
Ensure that letters are being formed in the right way. Bad habits picked up now can carry on into secondary school, so it’s essential to get this right. EdTech can help you track letter formation for every child and see who needs extra support.
- Short sentences
Look at short sentences about the world around you, for example, in the classroom this could be ‘I sat on the mat’ if working at home this could be ‘My cat is good’. Get the pupil to come up with some of their own short sentences and try those.
- Moving to cursive
As the pupil masters individual letters, it’s then time to move onto cursive. With cursive writing, repetition is key. Firstly, trace each letter one by one. Then start with short words to get the formation right, such as bat, cat, may, boy, girl etc. With cursive, it’s all about practising to get the flow right.
- Write your own story
Nothing gives me more joy than writing their own stories and at this stage, pupils should be able to start writing their own short stories, which is, after all, where all the great authors such as David Walliams and JK Rowling started their writing journey.
- Look to technology
One tricky thing with handwriting is monitoring letter formation and writing progress when you have a class of 30 pupils. Technology has been a lifeline through COVID, as our pupils and we took to home learning like ducks to water. But now as we head back to the classroom, edTech can help teachers gain something that will be desperately needed, more time. We use technology to helps us with handwriting, and we’ve seen some fantastic progress, the children are more engaged, and we’ve seen a massive improvement in handwriting.
- Other useful places for resources
There are so many useful places to look for resources, here’s a few I use.
So this National Handwriting Day (23rd January), why not help your class celebrate the joy of handwriting by treating your class to some free handwriting lessons on a tablet – they’ll love it, and you’ll see a positive impact on engagement and attainment.
Andrew Clark is a Deputy Head and Apple Teacher from Chorley St James C.E. Primary School who use Kaligo App to help their children master handwriting in the classroom. You can sign up for your free eight-week trial here. www.kaligo-apps.com