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handwriting/letter formation

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by RJR_38, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I've also posted this on the Primary Forum so apologies in advance!

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    I teach a mixed Y1/2 class and although my class always need help improving their letter formation I have not had a class as bad as this years. My Year 2s in particular are terrible - with many of them unable to form anything that looks vaguely like a letter! I am working on fine motor skills etc and on handwriting within the class but I am also going to give these children a seperate SEN group just focusing on letter formation.

    Anyway, my main question is - is there an 'order' in which I should teach the letters when writing them? They are able to read and recognise the letters etc so its not phonic learning I'm interested in (satpin etc) but just the actual writing of them.

    In general handwriting I tend to group the letters by doing oca first, then tall letters, descenders etc but I'm not sure if this is right or not.

    All advice welcomed!
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  2. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I've also posted this on the Primary Forum so apologies in advance!

    <table class=" style="TABLE-LAYOUT:fixed;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">

    <tr>
    <td class=">


    I teach a mixed Y1/2 class and although my class always need help improving their letter formation I have not had a class as bad as this years. My Year 2s in particular are terrible - with many of them unable to form anything that looks vaguely like a letter! I am working on fine motor skills etc and on handwriting within the class but I am also going to give these children a seperate SEN group just focusing on letter formation.

    Anyway, my main question is - is there an 'order' in which I should teach the letters when writing them? They are able to read and recognise the letters etc so its not phonic learning I'm interested in (satpin etc) but just the actual writing of them.

    In general handwriting I tend to group the letters by doing oca first, then tall letters, descenders etc but I'm not sure if this is right or not.

    All advice welcomed!
    </td></tr></table>
     
  3. cinderella1

    cinderella1 New commenter

    have a look at the guided writing in the early years that came out, or ask your literacy co-ordinator what your schools uses most have a scheme, if not carry on with what you are doing it sounds fine.

    Did these children not have handwriting lessons in reception and year 1?
     
  4. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Our school doesn't have a scheme (just one of my bugbears!) - lets just say continuity isn't our strong point...

    I'm sure they did have handwriting lessons but obviously a LOT more input is needed - I can't believe I have to do SATS with them in May :S
     
  5. we teach the letters in formation groups for handwriting eg c a d g o s all these letters go back and round and then we move onto r n m that is the letters that go down up and over or however you want to word it. I think the best way is to follow handwriting patterns and try to work out what suits you and your children. As a reception teacher I did think that the speed in which we were encouraged to introduce sounds in Letters and Sounds last year was far too quick for the children in my class to cope with letter formation which was always our strength. I am adapting things this year so I dont throw the baby out with the bath water.
     
  6. RJR here's a link.

    http://www.kber.co.uk/hfw.htm also find the boring boring font (amd boring joined) as this is very similar.

    I think most people follow the same type of letter groups. In 2000, our school had an OT in who said handwriting canbe changed/improved. She recommended the font used by KBER and once we got going it was brilliant. No style/approach will fit all as you will always have about 4/20 with diffciulties but this style seems to help all.



    We introduce handwriting via a story and each pattern has a name for reference and there is a patter which goes with each. Try to aim for as many session a day as you can. WE start the day with handwriting. Any gaps in the days are filled with handwriting. Once you get them interested you can introduce handwriting pictures. Start with a template which they fill with 'lovely neat letters' and then let them make their own templates. Use spelling lists if do them for handwriting. Giving a choice of writing tools during free choice sessions is useful. Staedtler do thin triangular HB pencils and make sure you have collection of different grips. Introduce handwriting certificates with clear objectives as this can encourage them. Make sure all your writing is joined as a model. You can always unjoin if necessary but you'd be surprised how quickly even the youngest or least experienced child will quickly follow you. Write Dance is good as it focuses on movements and patterns (from large gross to fine motor control). Whiteboards are brilliant and rulings of different sizes. Handwriting books with old fashioned tram lines are a must! People may feel that anything from the past is outdated and basically bad but the children don't usually agree. Bev Evans has a great powerpoint using a magic pencil and a joined font.

    We follow these groups:

    c a d g o q

    r n m h b k p

    i l t u y j

    v w x

    s f z e
     
  7. Hi Mac64, interested in knowing about the stories for handwriting you mentionned...is it a scheme you follow? Sounds great!
    Thanks!
     
  8. I have downloaded the Bev Evans one and it looks great but I can't get the pencil to move. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?
     
  9. cinderella1

    cinderella1 New commenter

  10. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter



    Thanks for all the input everyone! We already use the boring boring font everywhere as its the closest font to our handwriting policy. I have the handwriting books and the whole class do this twice a week. I am also going to be introducing a group for these children so that they can do more and write on vertical boards first etc as well as lots if fine motor skills.

    I'm just worried because I can already see that they are beginning to get fed up and frustrated with writing as they are now in Y2 and are still struggling to form anything that resembles letters. I don't want to turn them off writing so was worried about doing it more than once a day...

    We use Read Write Inc and I know there are little stories to go with the letter formation so I will try using these which I hadn't really thought about before.

    Thanks everyone :)
     
  11. Sheryllucas it's not an actual scheme but something I put together based on the OT advice we were given. We use the KBER as a whole reference point. I used to be Y1 and introduced joing so I put together a story book with patter related to specific patterns and memory cues for the children. I'm in R now and have started introduing the story at a much slower rate. I can upload the story etc but you'd need the boring boring font. The key character is Copy Cat who loves neat and tidy letters and numbers. He lives in Magic Land where there is a castle (always on the right side)where all the neat and tidy letters live. All the upside down and messy letters live in the Wobbly Forest.(always on the left side to aid oreintation). Copy Cats body has three parts relating to ascenders and descenders (Head space, tummy space and tail space). Each part of the body fits into tram line rulings or regular rulings so children can begin to judge how the space and position letters. There are characters relating to either a letter group or a pattern. Mr Tallman and Mr Shortman = i l t. Jack and Jill = vvvvvvvv for v w x. Spiros the Spider relate to b p and the magic key for the castle has to turn in specific way to fit into the magic lock = c a d g o. Once they have basically got the c and i groups they tend to speed up and only refer to charaters when necessary. We also have a stuffed cat toy which likes to sit by lovely neat letters and numbers. The kids seem to understand it and gain from it. I'm not sure how well the R children will benefit from it or rather to what extent compared to previous Y1 children but I only introduced the c group this week and I write both fully cursive and regular cursive and so far they have shown no confusion. ABout four of my R children can form the c correctly join it to other letters and one can form a fully cursive s so it might help the more able at this stage and hopefully the others later on.
     
  12. That's strange. Her powerpints are usually quite error free. Try contacting her. It shuld just open and clicking where necessary usually works.
     
  13. Not letter formation as such but definitely helps - I've used both "Write from the Start" and "Write Dance" with success with YR and Y1. Unfortunately I've moved schools so can't look the publishers up for you. Write from the start concentrates on pencil control through adding things to pictures. Write dance addresses lots of things but involves a dance which then transfers the movements into a drawing using a large crayon in each hand. They're both enjoyable so might address the skills without the children thinking "Oh no not handwriting again!"
     
  14. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Now you've said it I think we might have write-dance hidden away somewhere.... is it the one with the volcano and robot etc? Hmm.... going to go and dig around at school on Monday!
     
  15. That's the one! Hope it's useful
     
  16. WriteDance is brilliant, I used it on a placement during teacher training. Hmm, I must find a copy so I can use it in my current school!
     
  17. Hi, I'm new to Reception (NQT) but just curious...when should we start teaching handwriting? Should I wait til they know the phonemes or should I start now? Thanks, I've found this thread interesting as it's given me some nice ideas.
     
  18. I would say it depends on where each child is at - if you have reluctant mark makers then you don't want to put them off by pointing out that actually and "a" is formed anticlockwise!
    I introduced it gradually - when I did shared writing I made a point of talking through how one or two letters are formed (watch magic pencil on the bbcschools website, it talks through forming some of the letters and the kids love it. It also gives some ideas of what to say when explaining letter formation). I would talk to the children who were forming recognisable letters reliably (which may not be many at this time of year) when they were doing their writing and mention that to make their writing even better they should try forming this letter like this... (only picking one or maybe two at a time). Give them lots of time to explore letters and letter formation in lots of different ways like in sand, with water and brushes, but as you're aware handwriting does have to be taught, they don't just pick it up themselves through exploration!

     
  19. Hi Mac 64



    I love the idea of the Copy Cat and the Mr Tall man and Mr shortman. Do you have any more details of this that you could post or the stories for each of the letters. We are introducing cursive and are looking for some stories to introduce the letters - as we going to write our own



    Any help would be appreciated
     
  20. Hi Tricky7. There is a scheme which has layed writing in the title for PCs and apart from the silly voice, seems quite useful. AS others have mentioned, Write Dance - Lucky Duck (all three books are great. I'm a big fan of this and have used it), KBER has the best font. WE have this installed on most of our computers and you can install it easily at home once you have purchased the disc. Boring-Boring and Boring Joined are very similar to KBER but more angular, but can be downloaded free from many font websites. I don't know if this will help but here is something I have just uploaded. It is a revised format due to working on different systems (XP and Vista) It should also run on Mac.

    https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6002798&preview=1

    Mac64
     

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