Here at Teach Handwriting we believe that a child is only ready to start learning to join their handwriting when:
- They have learnt to form all 26 lower case letters correctly
- Letters are of a consistent and suitable size (not necessarily the perfect size, remember big is beautiful)
- Letters are positioned appropriately on the writing line as well as in relation to one another.
Children generally begin to join letters between the ages of 6 to 7 years old, depending on the handwriting font style being taught. Those taught a continuous cursive font style from the beginning tend to join much earlier due to the nature of this font (for some by the end of their Reception Year).
Children do not need to be able to remember how to correctly form all their capital letters before they are taught how to join their letters. This is because capital letters never join to the lower case letters in a word. However, for these children correct capital letter formation needs to be taught alongside the introduction of letter joins.
We would recommend teaching joins in join type groups, whether your child has learnt cursive or continuous cursive single letter fonts.
Teaching the join types in their groups helps a child to understand the directional pushes and pulls required to successfully join the different letter combinations.
We would recommend teaching the bottom joins first, then the top exit to ‘e’ join and finally the top exit letter joins.
For our free join animations and worksheets: http://bit.ly/2F9P7cI
For tips to support the teaching of joins check out our Teaching Tips section: http://bit.ly/2AaX8sk
Last week we explained that pre-handwriting patterns are the first stage of learning to handwrite. Once a child has mastered theses, they are ready to start learning how to form letters.
But where do you start?
Our view is to focus on lower-case letters first and only the capital letters for the first letter in a child’s, examples: Peter Rabbit, Sally Green, George Blue or Mary Shell.
- One reason is that about 95% of what children write, and are exposed to, is in a lower-case form and only 5% in capital.
- Lower-case letters are far less complicated, requiring fewer pencil lifts to complete the letters.
- As both lower-case and capital letters require a child to form curved lines, a skill which most children have to practise, writing lower-case letters is no more difficult than writing capitals.
- In a young child’s writing all the letters are initially the same size, whether they are capitals or lower case; it is part of the normal developmental path of handwriting. So, the view that teaching capitals letters is easier because they are bigger is not true.
- Young children who have learnt mostly capital letters first find it difficult to stop, as it is so ingrained into the memory, often using them half way through words and sentences. Even when they are older this inappropriate use of capitals creeps back into their work especially if they are tired or concentrating hard on composing their work.
A child’s first major achievement, in their eyes, is to write their name. So, although concentrating on lower-case letters, teach them how to form the capital letter for the first letters of their name to get them excited about handwriting.
As they master the lower-case letters introduce the remainder of the capital letters. It is important that both are taught so that a child can develop a speedy, fluid and legible handwriting style.
Free Letter Formation Animations & Worksheets: http://bit.ly/2F9P7cI