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Parents of Y1 children, how good is...

(34 Posts)
frogs Tue 12-Jul-05 12:34:27

..your child's handwriting?

Just interested, really. Ds has just turned 6, ie. one of the youngest in the class, and his handwriting is still pretty ropey. Although I know they've been taught how to form letters, it doesn't seem to be monitored or practised very well, as he still tries to form lots of letters from the bottom up, or in all sorts of idiosyncratic ways. Looking at the writing in the birthday cards he received last week, he's not alone in this, nor does it seem to be corrected in his schoolwork.

By contrast I was looking at the school mag from my friend's kids' school (private prep school). They'd printed some pieces by Y1 and Y2 children, and they were brilliant! Terrifyingly so, with all the children making the little joins at the beginning and end of each letter, and some doing proper joined-up writing. Even the strugglers were making the letters correctly.

Now presumably not all children of affluent Surrey parents are necessarily geniuses, so if this school can achieve such results with a not-terribly-selective intake, they must be doing something very right.

For the record, I'm not worried, tho' I am going to take ds's writing in hand over the summer with one of those workbooks. I'd just be interested to see how unusual my children's school is in being a bit slack about writing. It was mentioned in Ofsted report as being something the school should work on, but then most of the Ofsted report gave the impression of the inspectors having visited a different school entirely, so not sure how reliable that is.

Your opinions please!

NotQuiteCockney Tue 12-Jul-05 12:35:46

Presumably the pieces printed in the school mag are the absolute best?

I'm no help otherwise, DS1 is not yet 4, and hence not writing (or reading) at all.

Aero Tue 12-Jul-05 12:36:32

Wouldn't worry a jot about it. Ds is nearing the end of year two and his handwriting is pretty ropey too. The thing is he can write neatly, but it takes far too much time, so just gets things down as quickly as he can. I'm usually able to read it though!

frogs Tue 12-Jul-05 12:37:30

I don't know, the pieces in the school mag showed quite a range of achievement. But even the really wonky ones seemed to have learnt how to make the letters, rather than making it up as they go along.

Aero Tue 12-Jul-05 12:38:01

(Sorry - glad to see you're not worried) Must take the time to read through posts properly - ds clearly takes after his mother!

Puff Tue 12-Jul-05 12:41:52

frogs - if you know what "style" of handwriting the school follows, it might be a good idea to buy a couple of blank handwriting exercise books, then write the letters in yourself faintly for your ds to trace over. Make sure the letters are fairly big when you do them - essential for small children grasping correct formation. Plus, if you haven't already, pick up a couple of chunky writing pencils or, the hand hugger things that go on to an ordinary pencil to adapt it for small hands.

He can then practice a few on his own underneath the ones he's traced afterwards.

Kittypickle Tue 12-Jul-05 12:41:53

Ropey is a very good description of my DD's writing but she has dyspraxia so it's a bit different in her case. She's still starting them all over the place and reverses letters. From what I've seen of the others she is in the minority. I think I vaguely remember that this was an area that Ofsted had flagged up and I think the school have been working on it. She has been having one on one help though recently which is starting to make a difference.

kid Tue 12-Jul-05 12:45:55

I noticed with DD's letter formation, she writes most letters starting at the bottom. She also ends up with sentences going down as they go across the page. She is in Year 1 but I am not worried about it either, I am sure it will improve with time. She is left handed and I find just watching her write appears awkward!

ScummyMummy Tue 12-Jul-05 12:46:34

son J: handwriting= appalling
son D: handwriting= pretty awful

both are 6.

Mo2 Tue 12-Jul-05 12:49:31

Frogs - which Surrey Private Prep School might we be talking about - give us a clue...

I'm in Surrey too. DS1's handwriting is pretty messy, although I DO think he forms all his letters the 'proper way. He's 5 & going into Yr 1 in Sept, and at a local state infant school.

frogs Tue 12-Jul-05 12:53:17

I can feel a consensus forming here. But we do need some input from private school parents, to see if they handle it differently over there.

My dd1 was a freak who taught herself to do joined up writing during the Y1 summer holidays, just for something to do. So I'm slightly lacking in benchmarks for normal children. Also I went to primary school in Germany where everyone learns one uniform style of joined up writing from the very start (although they do start later -- after 6th birthday).

It just seems silly to me to let the children get into habits of making letters awkwardly, which are then going to take ages to get out of. Surely it would be easier to enforce a consistent style from the start?

binkie Tue 12-Jul-05 12:54:58

ds's school (which is a poncey private ) has got him doing joined-up writing and I was amazed. Like reading I noticed it sort of clicked within a couple of weeks, so it's a case of doing it when ready?

Anyway, pride was punctured when school report said "many of his joins are incorrectly made because he will not be guided" (their general beef about him). So I too will be doing the workbooks this summer.

Love the idea of Ofsted inspecting the school in a parallel universe.

(BTW, if you got my CAT & wondering why no answer I won't have got any message yet as it's on different system.)

frogs Tue 12-Jul-05 12:56:38

It wasn't Surrey, actually it's Berkshire -- can you tell I never learnt UK geography?

It's called St John's Beaumont. And it's boys only, which makes the tidy handwriting even more impressive.

ScummyMummy Tue 12-Jul-05 12:57:10

I do agree with that, frogs. I'm not concerned about the messiness of either son's writing but, to a non-expert at least, their weird letter formations don't seem that likely to be helpful to them in the longer term, I have to say.

dinosaur Tue 12-Jul-05 12:58:47

DS1's is pretty ropey. He does form the letters correctly (mostly) but he is very bad at getting his writing on a line and it looks really messy. I don't get the impression that it is high up the list of priorities at his school. Watching him write, I do notice that he starts off making the letters in funny places too - certainly not how I was taught!

Then again, it was drilled into us - very boring - at least my DS1 enjoys writing and does it for fun!

ScummyMummy Tue 12-Jul-05 13:02:55

That's a good point dinosaur. Though I was not very happy to see "Mace Windoo was here" written on my kitchen table recently, in a legible, though overlarge, purple felt-tipped scrawl.

starrynight Tue 12-Jul-05 13:03:06

My DDs handwriting is still pretty appalling (10) but then so is mine (undisclosed age). I think it runs in our family.

No y1 child but DD2 who is in reception hasn't really got handwriting - she is still copying letters.

starrynight Tue 12-Jul-05 13:04:11

BTW as a child we used to get letters from kids in USA and their handwriting was really wierd - I think they are taught a very stylised kind of writing.

starrynight Tue 12-Jul-05 13:04:32

Slanted and swirly IIRC.

Marina Tue 12-Jul-05 13:21:19

Poncey private sector input as asked for, Frogs.
Ds is just six and amongst those in his class starting on cursive script.
His handwriting is neat for his age to my eyes (I was left-handed and appalling until my teenage years tbh) and from what I have seen on display in class he is one of the more accomplished writers. But they are all good, and this includes two statemented children who are still getting to grips with literacy in general.
His teacher freely admits she has a real thing about correct handwriting technique and she is a consistent, firm and demanding marker, from his classroom books. Ds is now starting to correct our letter formation
HTH - but school mags will always use the best wherever they are.

fishfinger Tue 12-Jul-05 13:22:54

I taught ds3 ( aged almost 7 but in year 2) to wrtie joined up at easter
I got him the grafisme( their style) sheet form the teacher and showed him how to do it
took about 2 days
piece of piss

fishfinger Tue 12-Jul-05 13:23:40

grafisme is a new style of wrtiing where you joinup almost straight away.... his wrting wil look north american at the ned like dh's BOOOOOtifl writing ( he si canadian)

Puff Tue 12-Jul-05 13:24:26

IME size, shape and formation of letters can be very varied amongst Y1 children. Some will have regular, joined up writing, others are still printing, some with correct formation, others still working this out.

frogs Tue 12-Jul-05 13:29:41

Seems like a state-private school thing, then. I guess breathing down each child's neck to make sure they form their letters correctly requires a higher staff-pupil ratio than most primary schools can support. Probably helps if half the class aren't jumping up and down like jack-in-the-boxes, too.

I fear DIY is the only solution, and ds will just have to put up with evil Mummy making him do writing during the summer. Actually he's quite happy to go along with this as long as he's adequately bribed with gold stars and jelly babies.

I just think it'll save trouble in the long run if he doesn't have to spend ages unlearning all his ingrained bad habits.

Hi binkie, haven't got round to replying to your CAT yet. MNing counts as legitimate break from writing tedious reports, but if I start loading photos of kids' birthday cakes into the computer during the working day, then I really can kiss my productivity goodbye! Will get round to it later, though, as I've promised photos of said cake to all those who were prevented from attending ds's birthday party by inconsiderate terrorist planting bombs.

sunnydelight Wed 13-Jul-05 18:00:24

Any idea where I can get more info on grafisme - just typed it into google and got nothing.

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