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Enthusiastic but poor handwriting skills in Yr 3

Discussion in 'Primary' started by christomkins, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. christomkins

    christomkins New commenter


    I have a Y3 student and his handwriting still looks quite immature for his age (handwriting is currently of a Yr1 standard). The rest of his peers have improved at an expected rate. I have feelings that he might have dyspraxia but after approaching parents about the issue, they don't want to pursue the issue and categorically deny it. Can anyone give me any advice to help him out with the handwriting? - I feel he is starting to notice the differences between himself and his peers, and it's starting to demotivate him.

  2. EmmaJ18

    EmmaJ18 New commenter

    Hi, I also teach year 3, since taking over the class in Jan they have made great progress in their handwriting which the chn are recognising themselves.
    I have set up a small intervention group for 4chn which they have twice a week focussing on how to form letters correctly and then working on the different joins between combinations of letters. We also do 15/20 min of handwriting practice everyday as part of our basic skills. Every week chn practice a particular letter and then individual words / silly sentences which contain lots of words with that letter in them. e.g. We started writing the letter n n n, then joining it nnn, then applying to words e.g. Nan, can, king etc so that by the end of the week they were writing the sentence - The nasty King never sings to his Nan.
    We do lots of practice of fine motor skills e.g. threading beads and buttons, hamma beads, sorting sequins using tweezers, dot painting using cotton buds to complete a picture, and using stencils to draw pictures. We sometimes give chn colouring in pages to fill in using hand writing patters (swirls, lines etc). Hope some of these ideas are helpful!
  3. christomkins

    christomkins New commenter

    Thank you both for your help.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    At the start of the year I grouped my class for handwriting. The poorest children rarely wrote at all, doing the sort of activities above in handwriting time and having a scribe or tracing dotted writing in literacy. By half term they were doing lots of tracing of shapes and associated letters, but still not really free writing. However by Christmas they could all write legibly and at a vaguely sensible size, though not at all neatly.

    They loved the dotted writing programme where they told me what they wanted to write and I typed it quickly and printed the sheet. They then traced over it and had a piece of work to be proud of.

    After Christmas they wrote in squares in handwriting practice time and when we use whiteboards, working carefully to keep every letter right inside the square, not even touching the lines. In literacy they were writing, though not very neatly in books and on lined paper the same as everyone else. Though they didn't always seem to notice the lines.

    Now their writing looks like fairly normal year 2 writing. They are writing on paper as everyone else and no special help is provided in literacy. In handwriting time they work with me on learning joins and keeping their writing small and on the lines. Relative to the rest of the class, it is still messy but totally normal year 2 standard.

    Children need to be 'taught' to write well, not just left to copy or trace by themselves. Practise is all very well, but you don't want them practising bad habits and messy writing. I used to say to my whole class "we don't need to practise our messy writing, do we? We are already really, really good at messy writing. Let's practice neat writing instead."
    All this coupled with a total insistence on 'best' writing all of the time and not accepting anything less, has worked really well. For some children just an insistence on smaller writing was all that was needed.
  5. For a small number of children with poor visuo-spatial skills and poor fine motor skills practising letter formation alone is NOT enough. I have had amazing results from Lois Addy's programme Write from the Start (LDA) 10 minutes daily with a TA every day is needed but after 6 months you should see a real improvement. I don't really understand how it works but work it does! And it is cheap.

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