H’s handwriting has been the thing that has been holding back at school for at least a year now and very probably more. Last year saw very little progress despite jumps ahead in reading and maths. It’s generally untidy (although he has been able to pull out the stops for some neater letters when sufficiently motivated) and a number of letters (and numbers) are often reversed. Cambridge University Press recently got in contact about their Penpals at Home series which are designed to help pre-school children and children in the first years at school. Normally, I’d have thought that the books were a little on the young side for H as he is now 7 and starting year 3, but given that this is a weak area, I decided to give them a try.
Around this weekend H has had some teacher training days and I’ve been using these books as a way of keeping up the handwriting skills practice when there is no school. I asked H to try a few pages from each, but he started on Penpals at Home: Getting Ready for Handwriting and just didn’t stop. He was having so much fun. The bright colours and clear, cheerful pictures are very appealing and he was motivated to carry on beyond what he was asked to do, which is unusual as writing usually gets the thumbs down. This book is designed for children to practise control of their pen and start forming shapes/following lines.
He also had a go at Penpals at Home: Forming Letters. This book takes things on a step and gets children to form letters correctly by starting at the dot and following the arrows to form the shape. Again H enjoyed working with this book and did more pages than I asked.
The pages of both books are laminated, so you can use a felt pen and wipe clean afterwards, so you’ll get plenty of use out of these books. There’s also an associated app which allows children to see animations of letters and patterns. We didn’t bother with this as H needs handwriting practice rather than letter recognition.