To do it right, you need to hold the pencil correctly, coordinate your shoulder, wrist and elbow, focus on the paper, remember how all the letters are formed, and decide what to write. Phew! No wonder some children struggle when it comes to handwriting. And let’s not mention spelling, punctuation and grammar! Writing is a complicated process.
As with all elements of learning, the key is to appeal to the children’s interests and keep it fun! So with that in mind, here are our top ways to motivate handwriting-haters.
Getting a grasp — the correct pencil grip can be a strong foundation for neat handwriting so it’s worth spending the time to get this right. With older kids, you might even go back to basics and retrain them. Here are some great ideas for teaching pencil grip in a fun and entertaining way.
Freestyle — let them write what they want, as long as the letter formation is there, who cares whether they write about Spiderman or Frozen. Have a free writing session with a focus on presentation and let them write whatever comes to mind. Nonsense words, jokes, letters to their favourite celeb, or a birthday wish list will do!
Sensory seekers — some children prefer to get hands-on, so providing sensory opportunities to practise handwriting can be a great idea. Shaving foam, sand, coloured hair gel or glue work well. We love this rainbow salt tray.
Location, location, location — a table and chair can be tiresome when you’re sat in the same spot all day, let the kids choose where they sit to practise. A bench outside or on a bean bag with a clipboard, a change of scenery can make all the difference to their motivation.
Brighten things up — Pencils are boring when you have to write with them all the time. Allowing the kids to write with a selection of mark making implements, such as coloured pens, chalk, paint or even glitter pens keeps things interesting.
Write on different surfaces — Children love to write on things they wouldn’t normally be allowed to write on. Windows, the floor, walls and even tables! Use washable window pens, large sheets of paper covering the floor or paint table tops with chalkboard paint and let the kids loose with the chalks. You’ll soon see your class keen to practise their writing.
Turn to tech — Don’t be afraid to turn to tech to motivate your handwriting-haters. There are some great handwriting apps out there that will engage and encourage your class to brush up on their skills. Apps such as Writing Wizard, Letter School and iWriteWords cost a few pounds but are fantastic for allowing children to learn proper letter formation.