Does your child's handwriting look like this?
...by Year 6, this is what teachers are expecting to see...that all the handwriting skills have been mastered and your child is writing using the cursive (joined up) style
At this age, handwriting is all about speed!
Between the ages of 8 to 11 years, a child should have developed and mastered all essential handwriting skills.
They no longer need to concentrate on how to write but should be thinking about what they are writing. Now is the time that a child is developing what is called muscle memory.
Muscle memory is when the brain needs to remember the hand movements your child makes to write specific letters and words without looking at them being formed. Only when this occurs can your child increase the speed of their handwriting.
Muscle memory is acquired by repeated handwriting practice. (Unfortunately, there is no other way).
Let me ask you this, can your child do all of these handwriting skills?
This is what they should be doing by now...
Write fast – writes at the same speed or faster than their friends
Use correct muscle pressure – the pencil marks are neither too light or too dark
Have neat handwriting – all letters and words are easy to read
Enjoy writing – finds this an easy method to communicate ideas
All letters formed correctly – without any reversals or change in direction
Apply grammar rules – using capital letters and full stops
Write using cursive (joined up) writing – write words without taking the pen off the paper
Use correct letter size – letters that are tall or go below the line can be clearly seen
Place spaces between words – has gaps between words that are not too large or too small
Sit well – with their feet flat on the floor, bottom at the back of a chair and at a desk
Holds the paper – using their non-dominant hand to stop the paper from moving
3 fingered pencil grip (tripod grip) – writes using this grip and does not say their hand hurts when writing
What happens in school at this age?
In school, your child will be showing their academic knowledge by writing stories, non-fiction writing, poetry, and plays. These stories should have good spelling and punctuation. Topics they will study include World War II, time zones around the world, Remembrance Day, space and solar systems.
In school, handwriting practice will vary from 30 minutes a week to ZERO (Eeekkk!)
Often in Years 4 and 5 any handwriting practice is linked with a weekly spelling test, taking approximately 30 minutes per week for both handwriting and spellings to be completed. By Year 6, no time is usually set aside for handwriting practice within the school day.
Want to learn more?
Swipe my exact step-by-step plan that will help your child master joined up letters with ease. Follow the sequence of emails over the next 7 days to achieve handwriting success.
Transform your child's handwriting in 7 days
What can you do?
At this age, we are wanting a child to repeatedly do the same thing so the trick is to find ways of completing handwriting without your child becoming bored or frustrated.
In my experience, children who find handwriting difficult have learned great avoidance strategies. They know that they are being asked to do something that is difficult to them but easy to others. We are not looking for quantity but quality. Short, little activities are better than one horrible lengthy session.
Here are 3 easy things that you can do at home:
1. Shopping list - Ask your child to write a list of all the food items you need. Keep the list in the kitchen and when you're thinking of something you need, ask them to add it to the list. This will give both meaning and purpose to handwriting.
2. Use a handwriting worksheet - Here is an example of what I use for the month of May. I have short handwriting activities that are linked to the date. The activities can vary from writing as many flowers as they can think of on the post-it notes or writing what ingredients they would include in a hamburger for national hamburger day. Each day takes between 5 to 10 minutes to do.
3. Play a spy game - Your child is a spy and they need to send a secret message without another person knowing. They must look into their partner's eyes and write a message, they then look to see if they can read their own message.
What to do next?
There are various ways you can help your child.
- You can choose worksheets designed to help them develop their pencil control skills. I create my own and they have been nominated for awards. Yes please, click here!
- Follow my step-by-step 7 day email support called 'Transform by child's writing in 7 days'. It's free 🙂 Fill your details in the grey box above in the 'Want to learn more' section.
- Work with me 1:1 either by Skype or in person. Yes, please, click here to complete the contact form.
*names changed for confidentiality