Ruth’s Blog: Handwriting Alert

Entry – and most exit – strokes hinder children’s handwriting  

I invented mnemonic phrases to help children form letters correctly. For example, “Round the dinosaur’s bottom, up his neck and down to his feet,” reminds them how to write the letter ‘d’. As the children write the letter they say the phrase and then the sound.

Adding an entry stroke – with or without a ‘whoosh’:

1.     Interrupts the association between the dinosaur and the sound ‘d’

2.     Makes it hard for children to write the letter – particularly boys

3.     Makes it tricky for children to read their own writing: the stroke muddles the shape of the letter, for example, o looks like a, v like w.

Teaching entry strokes (and most exit strokes) makes it hard to teach joined writing later: if you’ve told children that every letter starts on the line, you’ll now have to tell them that they don’t – many letters join half way up the line. You only start the letter on the line when the previous letter has ended there.

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