Handwriting practice for teenagers
Has your child moved to secondary school and now their writing has got worse?
Are you afraid no one can read your teenagers writing?
Have the teachers told you your child’s handwriting needs to improve?
By the time your child reaches secondary school, time given for handwriting is absent. It’s all about core curriculum subjects leading up to exam choices.
Here we look at how you can help your teenager have handwriting that can be easily read and easily marked by examiners.
Often the major problem at this age is handwriting legibility. Either they are writing so fast it cannot be read. Or they are seen to be lazy by not writing enough. Some have tried to alter their own writing styles and this has lead them to have writing that even themselves cannot read.
One big difference now is that instead of one teacher getting used to your child’s writing. Multiple teachers need to be able to read their work.
Handwriting legibility matters
It is a myth that everyone in secondary school uses a tablet or computer. The written word still counts.
We still have to handwrite exam answers. The covid pandemic was an exception. Until there is equity with all schools being able to provide everyone laptops or iPads I cannot see us not needing to write in exams.
The only thing that has changed over the last 5 years is that examiners mark from computer screens. No longer do they have the opportunity to turn a page to guess what is written. This change makes it difficult for markers to read small writing or writing that has a light pen touch. Examiners will only be able to zoom in and out to guess your son or daughters handwriting. That is if they have the time, often they are marking one hundred students work in a very short timeframe.
Let me tell you about Ben and the cement company
His company approached me to ask for handwriting help. It was for their new apprentice. As a supportive company, they wanted to help him improve his handwriting. They felt his bad handwriting was a poor reflection on their company. The company makes cement..
Ben needed to handwrite orders and pass them onto the clients. The problem was no one could read Ben’s writing.
We worked together to improve his letter legibility and reduce his letter size. Helping him to meet the requirements of his new job.
Ben’s story shows that even when out of school, handwriting affects everyday lives.
How to help teenagers improve their handwriting without extra handwriting lessons.
Make sure they write on lined or squared paper. It really helps letter legibility.
Don’t ignore it when they say they have pain after writing. It is often due to their pencil grip. Causing them a loss of blood flowing to the hand. Teach them simple hand exercises. Their mates won’t even notice that they are doing them.
Pick up a pen
Pens come in different shapes and styles. Most are ergonomically designed. These contours help the fingers feel comfortable when writing. Biro, fibre tip, gel or ink can make a difference to handwriting legibility. Your teenager needs to find the one they like. And it doesn’t have to be the most expensive pen.
Prepare for speed
Writing fast only happens when you have muscle memory. This is the ability to write without looking. People who don’t have this often take longer to write. Even a simple game of noughts and crosses at breakfast or tea time can help teach muscle memory.
It takes this long for a habit to change. Handwriting can be improved. But there will be no overnight success. Your teenager needs to accept that improving their writing style is a strategic move. There are no quick fixes.
Mistakes (what NOT to do when doing handwriting practice with your teenager)
Thinking cursive matters
Cursive writing or joined up writing is a handwriting style. It is a choice. What matters is legibility and speed. Joined up writing, if not done right, can affect readability. Read more about when to consider typing here.
Staying up late
Research has proven that when we are tired we write faster. And this affects handwriting legibility. If your child is tired when they go to school or when they do an exam their handwriting quality will be affected.
I’ve heard teachers tell parents there is no point in teaching handwriting after the age of 9. This is totally untrue. Whatever your age, it is possible to improve handwriting. Because we are not seven years old our brains are not so adaptable. It might take longer. But it can be done with handwriting practice.
To summarise handwriting practice for teenagers:
Handwriting is a life skill. It does not stop when your child leaves primary or secondary school.
It is possible to change bad habits. By teaching your teenager new methods, handwriting legibility and speed will improve. No longer do you need to fear that examiners cannot mark your teenager’s work.
Sessions | Any handwriting problem | Homework set between sessions
Your teenager might be struggling with letter legibility, size, speed or another common handwriting challenge. Both you and them want to see the most significant improvement, in the shortest possible time. I get that. Perhaps you’ve even tried asking for additional support at school, and been told do not worry they can type in exams. The result -Your child has become disillusioned with writing. Worse still, their confidence may even have taken a hit, and their grades may have nosedived.
My online handwriting tuition provides a tailored experience for you and your child. Over the course of six sessions working with me, your child can improve any aspect of their handwriting. As for you – Mum, Dad – I’m here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions and advise as to how you can best help your teenager. Oh and I do not do boring worksheets, we will have fun writing quizzes, answering debate questions, guessing real/fake news and much more.
Family life is hectic (I completely understand) – so I work around you. Just book yourself onto my online diary for the times and days that suits you. In between our sessions, I’ll provide handwriting tasks that will make the biggest improvements to your teenagers writing.