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The Art of Handwriting

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Photo of Victoria (Teach Starter)
Updated | 3 min read

The importance of the handwriting lesson

Handwriting is an important skill for students to learn at school.  Having legible handwriting, along with the use of language conventions, enables a person to record their ideas and communicate effectively with others through written text.

Handwriting skills develop over time, however, they require daily opportunities for meaningful practice. With daily practice, students are able to build on their skills and improve handwriting movement patterns. This practice enables handwriting to become an ‘automatic’ process, where the hand consistently moves smoothly across the page.

Children who find it difficult to write due to their handwriting, will underperform and produce shorter and simpler text to their peers. When children improve their handwriting, they also increase the length and complexity of their own written text. They reduce any anxiety they have towards handwriting and increase in confidence, taking greater pride in the presentation of their written work.

Classroom tips

Handwriting involves the combination of finger, hand and arm movements, as well as hand-eye coordination and fine motor control. With all these skills and abilities involved in handwriting, it is important that you provide your students with a warm up session, prior to any handwriting lesson.

Use at least three minutes to warm up the fingers and hands before a lesson to help the brain and the muscles to work together. Your warm up could include activities such as jumping jacks, opening and widening fists and fingers, doing finger ‘push ups’ and using the thumb to individually touch each finger.

For students in the classroom, a handwriting lesson can require a great amount of concentration, so it is encouraged to remove any clutter from the student desks. Not only will this improve concentration, it will give the students more space and encourage them to write correctly.

Remind students of the correct sitting position and the tripod grip pencil hold at the start of each lesson. A great way of reminding students of the correct position is through the use of a simple rhyme:

1, 2, 3, 4 Are my feet flat on the floor?

5, 6, 7, 8 Is my back nice and straight?

9, 10, 11, 12 Show me how your pencil’s held! 

To encourage the development of handwriting skills, it is best to teach letters in groups of the same basic movement, using a range of learning experiences, resources, writing implements and surfaces. Timetable handwriting lessons into different learning experiences; explicit teacher modelling, whole-class writing time, small-group guided writing time and independent writing time. Allow opportunities for individual conferencing so that you can provide students with immediate feedback on their handwriting.

Image of Handwriting Song Poster

teaching resource

Handwriting Song Poster

A poster with The Handwriting Song to display in the classroom.

Teach Starter Publishing2 pages
Image of Handwriting Hints Poster

teaching resource

Handwriting Hints Poster

A poster providing helpful hints to produce good handwriting.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: F - 7
Image of Handwriting Stamina Award Certificate

teaching resource

Handwriting Stamina Award Certificate

Give positive feedback to your students when they display excellent handwriting skills.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: 1 - 2
Image of Joined Writing License

teaching resource

Joined Writing License

Award your students with this certificate when they have mastered their joined writing skills.

Teach Starter Publishing2 pagesYears: 2 - 3

Different fonts and use of lines

In Australia, the fonts taught and used in schools, changes depending on which state or territory you are in. It can also change depending on the agreed guidelines of the school you are teaching at. When teaching handwriting in Australia, it is important that you become familiar with the handwriting font used in your state or territory and the guidelines used in your school. This includes when to introduce cursive writing and the use of pens.

There are three main types of lines and the use of the lines in Australia:

  1. Blue dotted thirds, with the body of the letter in between the two dotted lines.
  2. Blue dotted thirds, with the body of the letter in between the second dotted line and the last solid line.
  3. Red and blue lined thirds, with the body of the letter in between the two blue lines.

Using Studio to make handwriting resources

At teach starter you can use our Studio feature to create the handwriting worksheet that is right for your class.  Select the suitable line format for your class and the positioning of the letters on the lines. Then choose the appropriate font. You can also use the studio to create your own text for the students to trace or copy.

OpenDyslexic font

You can now select the font OpenDyslexic in our Studio feature. The OpenDyslexic font has been designed to increase readability for students with dyslexia. The heavy weighted bottoms of the letters assist students with dyslexia by identify the correct positioning of the letter. This prevents confusion and stops the brain from flipping and swapping letters around.

For more information about OpenDyslexic font, visit the OpenDyslexic website.

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