Handwriting is an essential learning experience for children. At this age children will have begun formal handwriting lessons in classrooms.
A child at this age will be able to print many words. They should be able to manage a task that requires some dexterity such as doing up a necklace. Children should be able to form upper and lower letter correctly. Their visual memory will have developed.
The significant skill of this age period is that children will move to the Mature Tripod Grasp. Children are explicitly taught how to hold a pencil or implement the correct grip. This will allow them to write lines, curves and letters on paper.
At this age children will begin to learn the direction and starting and finishing points for letter formations in their script. It is important that these skills are observed so that children learn correctly rather than correcting poor habits once the skill has been learnt. The letter formations will depend on the script being taught.
Other handwriting milestones
- Children will also learn to write with the correct slope, size and shape of letters.
- Children at this age must consolidate the open index-finger thumb space.
- For children who are finding the task of handwriting difficult, completing puzzles as well as constructing with Lego will improve finger dexterity.
- Children of this age are trying their best to write clearly in a straight line. They should know to write from left to right across a page and will attempt to form letters of a uniform size.
- Children are still developing their visual spatial awareness. They may still cluster words together on a page and will need encouragement to use finger spacing when writing.
Children at this age can experience frustration with writing as mastery of the process can seem a long way off. Children benefit from observing parents and adults use handwriting for a purpose. It motivates children to continue to learn the skills and consider handwriting an important life skill, which it is.
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