Handwriting is something many adults do without thinking. While we all received formal handwriting lessons few adults are still forming their letters as taught and instead have settled into a script which suits them. This is because handwriting, whether we realise or not, is part of our self-image and expression of our personality.
At this age children are encouraged to personalise their own handwriting style.
The focus for children of this age is to choose a style which is both legible and fluent. This will be very important as note taking occurs at high school or for exam taking when children must write to a time restriction.
In addition to choosing a style which is legible and fluent, children should also choose a style which is aesthetically pleasing and not difficult for people to decipher.
Fluency is an important issue to ensure that the muscles of the hands are being used correctly. This will reduce the chance of hand spasm and cramping in test situations.
Once the mechanics of letter formation, shape, slope and size are perfected, children will have the chance to develop speed loops. This will depend on the script that your child is being taught. Children should be explicitly taught a range of speed techniques for handwriting so they can adopt a strategy which is most natural for them.
Finally children of this age are learning to use a variety of print and script styles for different effects. They can understand how fonts convey a message and can identify their purpose as a visual literacy component of advertising.
Important – Children will have now mastered cursive and have begun to use their own styles. They are usually interested in developing their own signatures. The handwriting style adopted at this age is generally the style which remains with us through adulthood.
This article was written by Michelle Barrington for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading education resource for parents. Michelle is a teacher and mother of a toddler who blogs at Gee, You’re Brave.