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Handwriting

‘Aspiring to achieve, determined to succeed’
 
At Sandy Hill Academy, we strive to provide our children with the highest quality teaching of English. We aim for each child to become a confident writer who has consistent, neat handwriting.
 
At Sandy Hill, our aims for handwriting are:
 
  • Developing each child's fine motor skills to support handwriting progression.
  • Developing an effective pencil grip to ensure handwriting progression.
  • Developing each child's individual letter formations and joins.
  • Developing each child's ability to maintain consistency and legibility whilst writing at speed.
 
At Sandy Hill, we use Letterjoin as our modelled handwriting style, which splits the 26 letters of the alphabet into four groups.

Handwriting is so important to your child because it is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. It is also a movement skill and one which is best taught directly by demonstration, explanation and practice. The principal aim is that handwriting becomes an automatic process, which frees pupils to focus on the content of the writing.

Our handwriting scheme is called ‘Letter-join’

All children learn to correctly form their letters through the handwriting scheme ‘Letter-join.’ The correct formation of all letters needs to be consistent and automatic and this may require a lot of practice. In order for this to happen, handwriting is taught in ways that enhance fluency and legibility. Handwriting is a skill which needs to be taught explicitly.

Since handwriting is essentially a movement skill, correct modelling of the agreed style by the class teacher is very important. The letter formation taught is, in the first instance, a cursive style, which ensures an early transition to joined handwriting.

Please see the document links at the end of this page to learn about the full English and Handwriting Curriculum at Sandy Hill Academy.

Nursery
Handwriting in Nursery starts with the development of fine and gross motor muscles. Our physical development is really important to help us develop the skills needed for our early writing. We have enjoyed taking part in Healthy Movers activities to strengthen our muscles! We have also been exploring different tools and materials that we can use to make marks.
 
"I feel really strong!" Nursery child, aged 3.
"I can write an 'O' for my name." Nursery child, aged 4.
 
Reception
Children are taught the importance of letter formation from the onset. Children are taught mnemonics to support the correct formation of letters. Within the Autumn term children have a weekly 'letter check' to ensure they are forming letters accurately. Following this in the Spring term, children have simple spellings to learn for their weekly check. Children practise handwriting in many different ways; from discrete taught sessions, phonics, collaborative writing on large pieces of paper or activities provided within their free play.
 
 "The letter rhymes help us write the letter. This one goes 'around the astronaut's helmet and down into space'." Reception pupil, age 4. 
 
"I like it when we practise our writing on whiteboards." Reception pupil, age 4. 
Year 1
In Year 1 the children have been focusing on correctly forming print letters. They have learned which letters belong to which family and where each letter starts and finishes using the formation phrases from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. 
 
"When you do your writing you have to hold your pencil with your 'froggy' fingers." Year 1, age 5.
 
"You need a sharp pencil to help you to do neat handwriting and you have to remember to sit properly on your chair too." Year 1, age 6.
Year 2
In Year 2 we have been working hard on our handwriting using our leading lines. We are so proud of our hard work so far. We are using our handwriting in all our lessons not just our English books.
 
'My handwriting is improving, I'm so proud of my work.' Year 2 pupil, aged 6.
'I am starting to use my leading lines.' Year 2 pupil, aged 6.
Year 3
Year 3 have been working hard to correctly form their letters using the 'handwriting families' for support.  They are focusing on leading in from the line and ensuring letters are of the correct size.  The children are becoming increasingly confident with the correct formation  of letters and have begun to focus on some horizontal and vertical joins to prepare us for further developing joined up handwriting. 
 
'I have worked really hard to make sure my letters are the right size and sit on the line.'  Year 3 child, age 7. 
'I now feel confident when forming letters from the curly caterpillar family.'  Year 3 child, age 8. 
 
Year 4
In Year 4, we have been working on our stamina for writing and ensuring handwriting is consistent throughout a piece of writing, across the curriculum. We have recapped some of the joins learnt in previous year groups.
Year 5
In Year 5, we have been focussing on improving the consistency of our joins of different letters. We have also been building up our writing stamina through the use of playdough. This has helped improve the strength in our writing hands and has supported maintaining our handwriting over longer writes.
 
"My handwriting has really improved this term!" Year 5 pupil, aged 10.
Year 6
In Year 6, they continue to apply their handwriting skills in all subjects - joining fluently at all times and ensuring spelling is accurate. 
 
'My handwriting has improved so much at Sandy Hill; I am proud of how it looks.' Year 6 pupil.

Useful websites for Pupils and Parents/Carers

Document Links

Teaching and Learning Principles
Curriculum Overview
Progression Overview
This document below is an example of skills progression in Handwriting from Nursery, EYFS and Years 1-6 (8 photos).

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