Handwriting Teaching Routes and Letter fonts

Handwriting animation page

The website design has been up for two weeks now and we hope that you are finding your way around OK.

Over the next few weeks we will be guiding you through some of the new changes. All the animations, worksheets, games, activities and support information that was on the old website design is still in the new one with some new elements and most importantly is still FREE for all to use on a non-commercial basis.

Teaching Routes

To support schools and the parents of children whose school use the website to teach their children, we have organised the animations and worksheets into our 4 main Teaching Routes. These are based on the most common teaching routes (approaches) used in schools to teach handwriting.

We refer to these as Teaching Routes A, B, C and D. The teaching route used by a school will depend on which letter font they will introduce in Foundation Stage (4 – 5 year olds) and then teach in Key Stage 1 (5 – 7 year olds).

More information on the Teaching Routes for handwriting can be found in our Handwriting Letters Fonts section: http://bit.ly/2RFlHEN

Letter Fonts

There are four main font styles taught in UK schools; manuscript capital letters, manuscript print (sometimes referred to as the ball and stick method), cursive and continuous cursive.

The capital letter and print letters in the UK have a standard letter shape and formation for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. However, this is not the case for cursive and continuous cursive letter fonts.

For the Teach Handwriting Website and The Teaching Handwriting Scheme for schools (if purchased) we have standardized 23 of the letters in the cursive and continuous cursive fonts and offer different versions for the letters w, x and z.

The letter version chosen dictates which letter family (teaching groups) they belong in. This is why we have the Letter Versions 1, 2, 3 and 4. In each letter version all the letters and worksheets are in the appropriate letter families.

More information on the Letter Versions for handwriting can be found in our Handwriting Letters Fonts section: http://bit.ly/2RFlHEN

Get your free animations and worksheets for all our fonts letters and numbers by clicking through to the Handwriting animations and worksheets page on our website: http://bit.ly/2F9P7cI

Which to Teach First: Capital or Lower-Case Letters?

Once a child has mastered pre-handwriting patterns they are ready to start learning how to form letters, numbers and symbols.

But where do you start?

Our personal view would be to focus on lower-case letters.

Why?

  • 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 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/1dqBYFm

Why it is Important to Teach Correct Letter Formation

 

It can often be assumed children will pick up how to write letters if they see them often enough (by osmosis). This is just not the case.  Correct letter formation has to be taught. Seeing a completed letter or word or watching it be typed up and appear on a screen does not show children how to form the letters.

For children to develop a good handwriting style it is important to learn how to form letters correctly to begin with as this makes the transition from single letter formation to joined letter handwriting much easier. This enables them to develop a speedy, fluid and legible handwriting style.

Letters are created through joining lines and curve shapes in a particular way. They have a designated start point and set directional pushes and pulls of the pencil to reach the designated finish point. This is why at Teach Handwriting we teach letter formation in groups/families rather than in alphabetical order. Certain groups use the same, or similar, shape and directional push and pulls of the pencil to form the letter, for instance the letter c has the same start point and anti-clockwise directional movement shape that is needed to create the letters a, d, g, o and, though a little more complicated, the letters s and e. Teaching letters in groups and families can also help to limit letter reversals such as b and d.

Due to how handwriting has or hasn’t been taught over the generations means that we all have our own way of handwriting. When supporting and teaching young children we need to develop a consistent approach so that they do not get confused or frustrated by adults giving them conflicting information.

For parents this means finding out from your child’s school which letter font they are teaching so that you can support them more effectively at home. This may mean that you have to learn a new way of writing some letters. This also applies to teachers and teaching assistants. As the adults in the situation we have to accept that it is for us to make the changes. Just because something is different from the way we were taught, or do it, doesn’t mean it is wrong it is just different!

Our letter animations are not just to support children with their learning but also to provide parents and teachers (all adults really) with the knowledge and support to help children develop a consistent handwriting style.

What’s The Difference between Cursive and Continuous Cursive Handwriting Fonts?

Cursive a Cloud   CC a Cloud

Many people think that Cursive is just short for Continuous Cursive. In fact they are two different handwriting fonts.

Cursive:

  • The letters start at different points.
  • The finishing points for all the letters is the writing line; except for, o, r, v and w, which have a top exit stroke.
  • The single letter formations are taught with just the exit strokes.

Continuous Cursive

  • The starting point for all the letters is the same; on the writing line.
  • The finishing points for all the letters is also at the writing line; except for, o, r, v and w, which have a top exit stroke.
  • The single letter formations are taught with the entry and exit strokes, this makes the transition from single letter formation to joined handwriting very straightforward and allows it to occur sooner.

Get free animations and worksheets for all our fonts letters and numbers by clicking through to the Letters page on our website:  http://bit.ly/2yJf27x

Which to Teach First: Capital or Lower Case Letters?

Phonics Assessment Pages

Dated 28/09/17

Once your child has mastered pre-handwriting patterns they are ready to start learning how to form letters, numbers and symbols.

But where do you start?

Our personal view would be to focus on Lower Case letters.

Why?

  • One reason being 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.

Your 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 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 your child can develop a speedy, fluid and legible handwriting style.

Free Letter Formation Animations & Worksheets: http://bit.ly/1dqBYFm

Pre-handwriting Patterns – The First Step to Handwriting

Tun 4 hoops 6   Horiz 1

Dated 21/09/17

Pre-handwriting patterns are the first step in helping your child to learn how to form letters for handwriting. They help your child to learn the shapes and directional pushes and pulls required to form letters. All letters are a combination of these shapes and lines.

Young children can start to learn these patterns through their play, long before they are ready to pick up a pencil, moving toys back and forth across the floor or whirling them around in the air. To your child it is just play and fun, but you are doing something far more powerful and constructive by helping them to develop the motor memory patterns and directional movement skills they will need for handwriting.

Later, as their coordination and gross motor skills develop, they make more controlled and varied movement patterns in their play. Changing directions, speed and size are all prerequisite skills needed for learning pre-handwriting patterns.

These handwriting patterns do not need to be taught as worksheet activities (though they do help to perfect shape and pattern formation), drawing pictures and patterns in sand, paint and with other writing tools are all fun ways to practise.

Teaching the handwriting patterns in groups helps to further develop the specific movements (pushes and pulls) required to form them and help commit them to the motor memory. Your child can then recall these motor memories to support them as they begin to form letters.

Once the handwriting patterns have been mastered your child will have the confidence and skills base necessary to start forming letters, numbers and symbols.

Pre- handwriting Pattern Animations: http://bit.ly/1yibFhm