Thought I’d post a quick picture of Jude’s handwriting practise. Schools generally don’t introduce joined-up writing until key-stage two but I have seen it taught very successfully much earlier so I introduced it as soon as my children know how to form their letters correctly. It makes writing much faster for children and they enjoy the grown-upness of it.
With writing though, it’s important to separate quality and content. For small children you can’t really ask for both. So when Jude does his own sentences he writes however he wants pretty much. As long as it’s legible and the letters are formed properly, I don’t mind if the words aren’t on the line or there are no ascenders and descenders. It’s all about what he is writing.
However, every day we do a bit of handwriting practise which is purely about quality. So what he is writing doesn’t really matter as long as it looks good. Jude, because he is still only four, first writes the alphabet by himself and then I mark it with him and tell him which letters are perfect because they are on the line and facing the right way. He still forgets how to write a q and a z as they don’t usually come up in his other writing.
Then we do his joined handwriting practise together. I write a word and he copies it underneath, at the moment I still talk him through each word, “do your l, then up to start the top of your a, then up again for your zig-zag zebra, then up you go into your y and don’t forget to loop his tail up.” As he gets more confident I will stop doing this, in fact he can do some of the words without help already.
When we have done that I give him one letter to practise as a writing pattern, children love doing this. If you let them do it in a coloured pencil they don’t even think they’re practising handwriting! And that’s our handwriting practise. It takes about 15 minutes.