Does your teenager's handwriting look like this?
...by Year 7, teachers are not expecting to be spending time improving your child's handwriting
At this age, handwriting should be an automatic process
From the age of 11 + years, your 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. Often they forget to write using the cursive (joined up) style and revert to printed writing.
It is possible to improve handwriting however progress is likely to take longer. That is partly due to the need of banishing bad habits and as we all get older the brain is slower to adapt to learning new muscle movements. A new habit takes 66 days to become established and this is a realistic timescale for a teenager to learn new handwriting skills.
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
Easy – finds this the best method to communicate their 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's learning will have stepped up a gear. They will be seeing a variety of subject specific teachers, all of whom will have their own expectations about your child's handwriting.
In school, handwriting practice is ZERO
Often at this age teachers may comment about poor letter legibility and a child being a slow writer.
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?
In my experience, at this age, a serious conversation needs to happen with your child regarding if they wish to improve their handwriting. If they are saying they are in pain when they write or run out of time then a handwriting assessment would be of benefit. This would involve a handwriting speed test where it assesses both speed and legibility. The results can support 'access arrangments' which is a term used in the UK schools to allow extra time or to allow someone type their answers. If they are saying they are in pain when they write or run out of time then a handwriting assessment would be of benefit. This would involve a handwriting speed test where it assesses both speed and legibility. The results can support 'access arrangments' which is a term used in the UK schools to allow extra time to write or to allow someone to type their answers.
If your child and you are considering typing instead of writing it is important to remember that this is a new motor skill. It will take time to build up both typing speed and typing accuracy.
Here are 3 easy things that you can do at home:
1. Typing games - There are some great free typing games online suitable for teenagers. These will help your child develop finger placement on the keyboard.
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. Dot to dot activities - Research has proven that handwriting speed can be improved by completing dot to dot activities. This is because we often guess the picture before it is drawn. Being able to do this is a skill needed to quickly see a word and write it at speed.
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