Reading was an easy skill for H to pick up. Once he realised the way to do it was to recognise the words and not sound out every letter, he was unstoppable. He’s never look back and we are already raiding the teenage section of the library for a 10-year-old. Writing was a different story. It was never really the words that were the problem, he had a great vocabulary and an active imagination, so all the ideas were there. It was the actual putting of pen or pencil to paper that was the issue. Handwriting in fact.
There are some who say that writing doesn’t matter anymore, but I don’t think that’s true. I write every day and I mean physically write rather than type on the computer or my phone. Being a blogger I’m quite tech savvy and I do a lot on the computer, but I do prefer a written to do list because there is something very satisfying about crossing things out when they are done. More and more is done online or in a technological format, but many things are still done manually. At school it’s even more the case. H spends more time writing than he does on the computer. It’s a skill he’s going to need now and in the future, but it’s one he’s had to work hard at gaining competence in.
2012 saw H writing this little note to the insects. I’m really not sure what all this was about or why he thought they might want carrot. As you can see here there were lots of letter reversals as well as strange letter formations which make it difficult to read.
By 2013 after some hard work, the letter reversals are dying away. This piece was copying rather than free writing, but as you can see there are no reversals. For a long time he continued to reverse his numbers though, especially the number 9.
Fast forward to Year 5 and H has been busy working towards getting his ‘pen license’ and before the end of the year he succeeded. He was far from being the first to get it, but not the last either and he did work to make sure he got there.
So what sort of techniques helped him get there? It was a combination of things including using writing products that helped improve his grip and lots of practice. Uniball, the pen experts, have lots of helpful articles and tools to help improve handwriting. There are some great, fun worksheets available for free on their site and it’s really easy to print them off as many times as you need. As a parent I particularly like their top tips to improve handwriting, with information from teachers and suggestions for ways you can support your child.
Uniball have recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of children’s handwriting and the importance of handwriting in education. Did you know that, according to the Institute of Education, the quality of handwriting education in primary schools can have a direct impact on success into secondary and higher education? Furthermore, the National Literacy Trust suggests that as many as 25% of UK adults are classed as ‘functionally illiterate’ with many struggling to write a birthday card or a cheque. It’s a worrying thought and I certainly don’t want my H to be one of that group.
Disclosure: This post is in association with Uniball.