Handwriting Policy. Aims 1. To know the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively.

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1 Handwriting Policy Aims 1. To know the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively. 2. To write legibly in both joined and printed styles with increasing fluency and speed by; Having a functional pen grip. Knowing that all letters start from the top except d and e which start in the middle. Forming all letters and numbers correctly. Knowing the size and orientation of letters and numbers. EYFS The following paragraphs are most likely to be used in EYFS as they refer to the first stages of writing. However, they should also be a guide to use with children that cannot write in any year group. Children Writing their Own Names Children may arrive at school already able to write their own name. Teachers should give priority to ensuring that children learn to write their names, forming these letters correctly as soon as possible after their entry to school. Children who have difficulty can be allowed to identify their work with the first letter or two of their names and learn the rest little by little. Better one or two letters correctly formed than a whole name written with letters formed incorrectly. First Steps - Pre-Writing Activities Scribbling, drawing and colouring do not directly help a child to write but they are important in developing confidence and pencil control. Presented in the right way they can also help children understand more about written communication my picture tells a story to the reader. These activities also offer children the opportunity to experiment with a range of pencils, crayons, felt-tips and paper, which they enjoy greatly. Pre-writing activities could include bead threading, modelling, weaving, finger play, finger painting, cutting and pasting, scooping, pinching, spooning, tissue paper collage and dot to dots as these will strengthen the hands, help with in-hand manipulation and improve hand-eye coordination (see appendix 1 for more ideas) Penhold We will teach children the dynamic tripod grasp detailed in the picture below.

2 This should be reinforced at the start of every formal writing session in EYFS and KS1 and handwriting lessons in KS2. In KS1 other grips should be corrected. A close eye needs to be kept on children developing an awkward grip and a plan put into place. (See page iv of The Handwriting File f and appendix 2 on how to use the froggy legs terminology for younger children.) Although the basic tripod grasp is often considered to be the only correct way to hold the writing instrument, there are a number of alternative grips which also work well. If a child has established a grip that he or she finds reasonably comfortable for long periods, it often causes more problems than it solves to insist that he/she change it. Handwriting Patterns Pupils at KS1 and EYFS especially should have opportunity to work on handwriting patterns on widely spaced single lined paper using pencils, coloured crayons and felt tips. In the formation of handwriting patterns children are making and repeating the movements they need to make the letters without the anxiety of completing a letter correctly. In addition, by their repetitive nature patterns also emphasise the rhythmic movement which we aim for when writing. Patterns will also be helpful for older children who have difficulty with fluent movement. (See appendix 3 for examples of patterns. There are more on Penpals) EYFS and KS1 Forming Letters Correctly It is vital that children are taught how to form the letters of the alphabet following the correct movement pathways. If the incorrect way of forming letters become established in the pupil s movement memory it will hinder effective progress in developing fluent joined writing later. (See appendix 4 for a bigger copy of the formations below) Model of Letter Formation Here are the letters that we add a flick to in preparation for joining in Y2.

3 Teacher Letters in Groups When teaching handwriting discretely i.e. in class handwriting sessions not RWI, teach letters which are formed with a similar movement together e.g. i t l u y w n m h b p c a d g q o l shapes n shapes c shapes e, f, j, k, r, s, x, z the left over letters 0, 1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, 9, the numbers Teaching letters in movement groups cuts down the learning load and provides for reinforcement of basic movement patterns. Size When teaching children about the size of letters, we will talk about tall letters, half way letters and tail letters. Note that the letter t is considered a tall letter but is slightly shorter than the other tall letters. Patter We will be using the patter from our phonics scheme Read Write Inc with some adjustments to fit in with the way we join on f, k, w, v and o. (A full list of the patter we use is in the appendix 5. We also need to put a flick on w v o on RWI cards) Children who cannot yet form their letters should focus on this skill until they are secure before learning a joined up script. Capital Letters As well as teaching the lower case letters which children will use most of the time, capital letters should also be taught at the end of EYFS and reinforced regularly in Y1 and Y2. Joining When and How? Class teaching of joined up writing should begin for most children in Y2. However, regards of age, children who can form letters correctly should be taught to join. We will teach letters to end with a small exit flick and will also use speed loops for ascenders and descenders. (See appendix 6 for further discussion of entry strokes and loops.) The programme Handwriting 3.0 can produce typed documents with our style of letter formation

4 and joining. Documents from word can also be pasted into this programme, converted and pasted back. Children will initially be taught the loop letters without their loops. They will need to use the unlooped version for the ends of words. However, when teachers feel they are ready to join, some pre-cursive practise of the letters that will use loops to join should be provided e.g individual practice of writing g, j, y as ü, ý, þ. Note that k will be taught from the beginning as a looped k. Introduce the letter joins to and from each letter. Provide the children with lots of practice with letter strings and short words. It will also be best to teach the joins in relation to movement groups. (Examples of joins can be found in appendix 7) Types of Join Horizontal to tall letter Šl Horizontal to half-way letter šc Diagonal join to tall letter a[l Diagonal join to half-way letter a]c When children are first learning to join, it may be necessary to accept less written work as the children are practising a new skill. If too much pressure is put on children at this stage the might revert to printing as this is more familiar. As soon as children are able to write in joined handwriting they should begin to use this for all their written work, so that, with practice, it becomes automatic. Assessment Readiness for Writing Assessment In EYFS (or later) an assessment to see whether children are ready to start writing will be necessary. Teachers should use a readiness for handwriting task. A good rule of thumb is that a child who cannot draw a circle, a vertical and / or horizontal line that is recognisable is unlikely to manage the more complex shapes that make up letters. (See appendix 8 for full details of this assessment) General Screening Task In KS1 and EYFS the whole class should be screened termly to ascertain whether pupils are ready to move on to the next stage of learning. A prescribed handwriting task will prevent some pupils at risk of later difficulties from slipping through the net. Class teachers will administer the screening but after talking through samples together, year leaders will be responsible for deciding what action to take. The screening should be really simple: ask children to copy out a sentence that uses all letters of the alphabet. The first they should copy in in their best writing, the second time as quickly as possible. In KS1, one of the daily handwriting sessions could involve the TA or teacher doing some assessment. (See 9 appendix for some suitable sentences and details of what to look for.) Fluency and Speed Pupils need to understand that competent writers have two different kinds of handwriting: one which is good quality and neat and is used for more formal purposes when the occasion demands;

5 the other a fast note-taking hand which is used when time is of the essence. The latter may be more untidy but they should both be legible. Two aspects of handwriting that will need to be developed in Y5, 6 and 7 (or earlier if children are ready) are fluency and speed. One strategy that can be employed is simply to ask pupils to copy some text for a set time and count how many legible words they have written. This activity might be repeated daily for a week or two, with each pupil trying to beat his own previous scores until most can write as least 12 words per min. Other hints for helping children can be found in Addy (2004). Passages for copying can be taken from a key text from the topic and typed up in Handwriting 3.0. Self Assessment Older children should be fully involved in assessing their own handwriting. (See the questionnaire on page ii and the self-evaluation sheet on page ix of Handwriting File.) Children with Difficulties Pupils identified as having difficulties will require a more detailed individual assessment in order to plan a programme of remediation. Most handwriting difficulties should be addressed in the year group by the year leader, teachers and teaching assistants. They may decide to; group children during handwriting sessions according to grip, letter formation, ability to join have a personalised list of letters in books the child cannot form make handwriting certain letters part of their daily 1:1 sessions use parent helpers to support handwriting instead of just reading ensure that every adult working with the child knows the area of focus ask parents to work on certain letters at home make use of handwriting exercises such as those in the Teodorescu programme Write from the Start in class and set for homework use special pencil grip or triangular pencils differentiate the size of lines the child uses continue to provide plenty of opportunity for children to practise fine and gross motor skills this is particularly important in Y2 (see pre-writing activities). Run class focus groups on pre-writing activities, letter formation or grip Ask children to write less but insist on neat or joined work. Make a particular aspect of handwriting a target e g. spacing, ascenders Ask children to write on alternate lines so that they can read their writing back more easily. Make daily opportunities for children to practice. Involve the child in self-assessment and target setting It is most important that issues are identified early and a plan is put into place. Children with Special Needs There are some children who learn to write legibly but will have disabilities which preclude them from writing at speed (e.g. children with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy).

6 Special provision can be made for this group which may include; accessing handwriting programmes like Speed Up (in KS2), attending Jump Ahead (KS1 and 2), using a sloping desk support in class, using an ergonomic pen, teaching them to touch type and providing access to a laptop, providing a scribe or voice activated technology such as an Ipad or dictophone so that they can dictate their work. Decisions about provision should be made with the SENCO and discussed with the occupational therapist. Writing Instruments There is no one best pen or pencil for children. The most important factor is that the pencils should be well sharpened and the pens should function well and have a steady but not too free ink flow. Younger children learning to write will almost certainly be using a pencil; however at some time they will need to learn to use pen. Children should be given the opportunity to experiment with pen in Y2, all handwriting lessons will be with pen in Y3 and children should gradually switch to pen in all of their work so that by Y4 all children write in pen unless they have special needs. If pen licences are going to be used then children should know the criteria and work towards them. Teachers in Y3 and 4 should agree the criteria. Posture, Paper and Position Posture should be taught explicitly and children reminded at the start of every formal writing session until it becomes habitual. Children should sit with the upper body reasonably upright and squarely facing the writing surface. With feet on the floor and the non-writing hand supporting the work. (see page iii of The Handwriting File) Right-handers should rotate the surface slightly to the left. Avoid allowing pupils to rotate the paper further and further until the lines are virtually vertical, as this can become a habit difficult to break. Lines Children except the very youngest, should be provided with lined paper to write on, with lines which are not too faint and at an appropriate width for the pupils. For very young children a piece of paper turned to landscape orientation with a single line is useful. Left-Handers Left-handers should either sit next to each other or on the left of a right hander so that elbows do not clash. They may also benefit from a slightly higher seat as it makes it easier for them to see what they write. Left-handers should rotate the writing surface slightly to the right. Induction for New Staff and Pupils New teachers and teaching assistants should be given a copy of the handwriting policy and some training if necessary. A member of the English team should be responsible for the induction. The year leader will be responsible for monitoring that new staff are following the policy. The senior leadership team will monitor new staff during Week in the Life of. New children may use a different but equally acceptable style of handwriting and that is fine. New children whose handwriting is not functional when they arrive will be taught using our own style. Parents Provide parents with a list of ideas to support children at each stage of handwriting e.g. pre-writing activities, a copy of the letter formation and patter. Parents of future school entrants

7 should be provided with a letter (see appendix 10) with a note of how we form and join our letters. The letter can be given out again in Y1 /Y2 or whenever necessary at parents evenings. Pre-School Providers and Transition to Secondary School We should visit pre-school providers and show them a copy of our handwriting policy. However, children should not be pressurised to write when they are not ready to do so. Any child that still has handwriting problems by the time they are ready to leave school should be mentioned in transition meeting. Terminology Capital letters and lower case letters Tall letters b, d, f, h, l, t, Half-way letters a, c, e, I, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z Tail letters g, j, q, y, p, f, Ascenders and descenders the correct terms for the sticks and the tails. Sticks and tails might be used in KS1 before moving on to ascenders and descenders in KS2. Letter bodies the rounded part of the letter. Joined up we will use this instead of cursive

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