Information for Parents
Dear Parents and Carers,
Here at Oakworth Primary School, we are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
In Reception and Year 1, the children are taught pre-cursive letters. The attached sheet shows you how to help your child with handwriting at home (all letters begin on the line). Having practised this script right from Early Years, children in Year 2 will then find it much easier to join their letters when they are ready.
For our youngest pupils, we aim for two to three weekly practice sessions totalling 30 to 45 minutes, that will include the following:
- Movements to enhance gross motor skills such as air-writing, pattern making, dancing.
- Exercises to develop fine motor skills such as making marks on paper, whiteboards, blackboards, sand trays and I-pads.
- Letter learning to familiarise letter shapes, formation and vocabulary.
Please remember, that when your child learns to write their name, a capital letter is only used at the beginning. E.g. Will, - not WILL.
Our aim is to help pupils enjoy learning and developing their handwriting consistently, with a sense of achievement and pride.
Many thanks for your support and please do not hesitate to contact me or your child’s class teacher if you require further information.
Writing & GPS Leader
Parents and teachers working together are the best means for assuring that children and youth will become skillful writers.
Because the situation in every home is different, we can’t say when the best time is to pursue each of the following suggestions. In any case, please be aware that writing skill develops slowly. For some, it comes early; for others it comes late. Occasionally a child’s skill may even seem to go backwards. Nonetheless, with your help and encouragement, the child will certainly progress.
We hope you will enjoy following these suggestions for helping your child become a better writer, both at home and at school.
Things to Do at Home
- Build a climate of words at home. Go places and see things with your child, then talk about what has been seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched. The basis of good writing is good talk, and younger children especially grow into stronger control of language when loving adults — particularly parents — share experiences and rich talk about those experiences.
- Let children see you write often. You’re both a model and a teacher. If children never see adults write, they gain an impression that writing occurs only at school. What you do is as important as what you say. Have children see you writing notes to friends, letters to business firms, perhaps stories to share with the children. From time to time, read aloud what you have written and ask your children their opinion of what you’ve said. If it’s not perfect, so much the better. Making changes in what you write confirms for the child that revision is a natural part of writing — which it is.
- Be as helpful as you can in helping children write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. When they ask for help with spelling, punctuation, and usage, supply that help. Your most effective role is not as a critic but as a helper. Rejoice in effort, delight in ideas, and resist the temptation to be critical.
- Provide a suitable place for children to write. A quiet corner is best, the child’s own place, if possible. If not, any flat surface with elbow room, a comfortable chair, and a good light will do.
- Give the child, and encourage others to give, the gifts associated with writing:
- Different kinds of pens make it fun!
- Pencils of appropriate size and hardness
- A desk lamp/space to write
- Pads of paper, stationery, envelopes — even stamps for letters.
- A booklet for a diary or daily journal (Make sure that the booklet is the child’s private property; when children want to share, they will.)
- A dictionary appropriate to the child’s age and needs. Most dictionary use is for checking spelling, but a good dictionary contains fascinating information on word origins, synonyms, pronunciation, and so forth.
- A thesaurus for older children. This will help in the search for the “right” word.
Encourage (but do not demand) frequent writing. Be patient with reluctance to write. “I have nothing to say” is a perfect excuse. Recognize that the desire to write is a sometime thing. There will be times when a child loves to write; others, when the need is cool. But frequency of writing is important to develop the habit of writing
Praise the child’s efforts at writing. Forget what happened to you in school and resist the tendency to focus on errors of spelling, punctuation, and other mechanical aspects of writing. Emphasize the child’s successes. For every error the child makes, there are dozens of things he or she has done well.
Share letters from friends and relatives. Treat such letters as special events. Urge relatives and friends to write notes and letters to the child, no matter how brief. Writing is especially rewarding when the child gets a response. When thank-you notes are in order, after a holiday especially, sit with the child and write your own notes at the same time. Writing ten letters (for ten gifts) is a heavy burden for the child; space the work and be supportive.
Encourage the child to write for information, free samples, and travel brochures.
Be alert to occasions when the child can be involved in writing, for example, helping with grocery lists, adding notes at the end of parents’ letters, sending holiday and birthday cards, taking down telephone messages, writing notes to friends, helping plan trips by writing for information, drafting notes to school for parental signature, writing notes to letter carriers and other service persons, and preparing invitations to family get-togethers.
Writing for real purposes is rewarding, and the daily activities of families present many opportunities for purposeful writing. Involving your child may take some coaxing, but it will be worth your patient effort!
(Article adapted for our school from National Council of Teachers of English.)
English Leader of Writing and GP&S