Fine motor skill development is a key factor in developing handwriting skills. During Reception and Year 1 the children focus on fine motor skill development alongside handwriting. Many children start school not ready for pencil control and formalised handwriting sessions.
This year we have stopped using cursive handwriting with our youngest children, to aid with letter recognition and correct letter formation. Cursive letters all start on the line, which can often confuse young children as they have to write a tail into a letter and rarely see these tails on letters in everyday life i.e. reading books, signs, labels and TV programme titles rarely use cursive writing.
Attached are some resources to support fine motor skills. They are activities which you can pick and choose from, as and when.
Different children will be ready for formal writing at different stages.
Most children in Reception will currently be mark making (putting pencil to paper however not necessarily with clearly defined letters or just random strings of letters). You will begin to see them use letters they have learnt and words will begin to form, especially as they progress through Letters and Sounds (the phonics programme we use).
Some children in Year 1 will currently be finding correct letter formation challenging. Some of this is a result of whilst learning to form letters correctly ‘old habits’ are challenged. The children become conflicted over how they have always written the letter compared to how they are now being asked to write the letter. All children go through this stage, some children will find particular letters more challenging.
Below are some letter formation resources which may be helpful. Although we always recommend that letter formation is undertaken in a variety of methods not just pencil to paper.
- Writing letters using paint brushes and water onto concrete.
- Writing letters into flour.
- Covering the table mat in toothpaste and writing letters into it. (The sensory elements to this can be a bonus both for children who enjoy and those who do not – getting messy hands is good even for those who dislike it as a means of teaching them it is ok and that you can wash it off.)
- Forming letters with playdough (making them in the same way as you’d write them i.e. starting in the same place)
- Writing them onto someone’s back for them to guess the letter.
- Practice writing them in the air, on parts of their body (palm, leg, foot)
- Covering a table mat in paint and writing letters into the paint.
- Creating letters from a variety of materials. (collage letters, lego letters, pasta letters, rice letters)
If you would like some further support, advice or resources please get in contact (firstname.lastname@example.org).