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Can any teachers (or anyone) explain why?

(17 Posts)
Germgirl Tue 04-Mar-14 12:05:03

My DSD is 7, nearly 8. She's in a private school (not sure if that makes a difference) & I'm a bit concerned about her handwriting. Last year her writing was coming along well, she was writing clearly and although it obviously looked childish it was easy to read.
This year she's learning 'joined up' writing & her handwriting is almost impossible to read. She insists that her teacher says she must use joined up writing all the time. She's also desperately trying to join up all the letters, capital letters, everything! We've tried to explain that you can't always join all letters but she insists you can!
Is 'joined' up writing always taught so early?

jamtoast12 Tue 04-Mar-14 12:14:59

Dds writing went terrible this year when she started joining up, again joining every letter, including those that don't naturally join. It's totally normal and gets better over time. Dd is 8.

TravelinColour Tue 04-Mar-14 12:16:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 04-Mar-14 12:29:13

doing it in Yr1 here. yes perfectly normal to get very messy before then getting neater again. we haven't perfected being neat the first time yet though so not sure what will happen with DD1.

Germgirl Tue 04-Mar-14 12:33:08

Normal then smile thank you. It's frustrating though, she spends so long doing over the top flourish-y y's and g's and trying to join up everything that it's almost unreadable. Oh well, it will improve.
I'm clearly an old git because I don't remember being taught joined up writing until I was about 10.

chicaguapa Tue 04-Mar-14 12:49:49

YY to all the above. DD has beautiful writing now but it was illegible in reception as that's when she started learning cursive.

I understand the concerns and I think DD's school used to have a ready example of how someone's writing had progressed through the school to reassure parents.

Fwiw DD was never taught to join the capital letters to the rest of the word. But was taught not to take her pencil off the page once the rest of the word had started.

I think teachers get used to reading it so find it easier than the parents. HTH.

Germgirl Tue 04-Mar-14 15:10:57

It does help. Thank you.
I think I'll just have to get better at reading her writing. We do spelling tests & other things while she's here & neither DH or I can read her writing in order to 'mark' the test! (I don't mean we have exams, just little tests on the spellings she has that week)

nennypops Tue 04-Mar-14 17:18:50

I was definitely taught joined up writing well before the age of 10. I think part of the motivation of teaching it is that it helps children to stop writing letters the wrong way round - joining won't usually work if they do that, and the flow of the hand and finger movements involved helps writing letters the right way to become automatic.

jamtoast12 Tue 04-Mar-14 18:09:15

I use an ap called squeebles spelling, you can add your own list of spellings and then your dsd can enter hers during practice. I find it works great. I think it was a couple of pound on the apple store. I was having similar problems during dds quiz practice - I could read it usually but sometimes she'd make it messy if she weren't sure!!

Wellthen Tue 04-Mar-14 19:33:36

Thinking of my own writing and the writing I teach, all letters that can be joined except capitals in UK style handwriting. French and American children join all letters.

Nocomet Tue 04-Mar-14 19:49:58

Who knows, my dyslexic elder daughter was just about learning to write when some idiot decided it had to be joined.

If you have to think about every letter your joined up writing doesn't flow. At 16 it still doesn't.

At senior school 1/2 of DCs revert to a sort of joined up printing any way.

Teaching them to touch type would be far more use.

Honestly how many adults do you know with legible writing? I know 2 my DM and DSIL (oddly her brother's is as illegible as hers is beautiful).

Most other DFs text or email, so I don't know if their writing is nice.

peppermintsticks Wed 05-Mar-14 19:24:03

When teachers are assessing writing, joined writing is counted as a Level 3 skill. That is why it is often introduced at around the age of 7, because this is when many children are striving towards or learning at this level.

Level 3: In most writing- legible style, shows accurate and consistent letter formation, sometimes joined.

mrz Wed 05-Mar-14 19:41:43

Joined writing is recommened for dyslexic children because the flow helps with the physical motor memory for spelling and are less likely to reverse letters or words because they aren't stopping and starting.

Cursive writing is faster because children aren't stopping and starting which is important when they are asked to produce more writing and especially in exams

PastSellByDate Thu 06-Mar-14 10:36:45


Don't know what your situation is at your school but our school did this in Year 3 too. Suddenly there was intense pressure to write beautifully in joined up writing and earn your 'writing pen'.

Unfortunately the school didn't actually teach how one might do this. There was no traditional copying out of words written in a joined up style, no writing paper (the one with hatched lines so you can work out letter heights) and a lot of pressure on DD1 who wrote beautifully at first but rather small-sized to write bigger, which resulted in her handwriting becoming totally illegible. She would write wonderful stories (really imaginative) (one's rated nearly L4 by an English teacher friend) and all she would have from the teacher is DD2 you really must improve your handwriting/ Work on your handwriting/ Write larger/ Try to write more evenly/ etc... Ultimately totally depressing my 8 year old to the point where she just wouldn't bother to write at school, although she's filling notebooks with stories at home.

Our solution was to go it the old fashioned way and start with learning how to form cursive letters (joined up writing style letters). We used the Collins Easy Writing workbooks - link here

It works through all the letters of the alphabet and helps with their individual formation and then practices joining them to other letters.

It was a real help to DD2 and now she's doing a lot better (admittedly at a new school where there actually is dedicated handwriting practice - which she adores).

Unfortunately - I think some schools/ teachers have lost sight of the fact that learning letter formation for cursive writing is a skill. A lot of effort is expended in KS1 teaching children how to form letters but at KS1/ KS2 transition (Y2/Y3) for some reason many schools rather lose the plot and don't reinforce letter formation work for 'joined up writing'. I respect that this is a 'reaction' against formal tuition of copperplate and the misguided approach of punishing children who couldn't successfully write in the style - but I rather fear it does mean it can be a free for all.


Germgirl Thu 06-Mar-14 10:46:49

It does help. Thank you.
DSD does say that they don't really get any practice with writing, somehow they're just expected to know how to do it (although she could just be saying that because she knows her writing is shocking).
She also has very small handwriting & it gets smaller and smaller the more she writes, she also doesn't make letters such as b, d & t 'tall' enough.
I will have a look at the books and also maybe try to get some paper with the proper lines for her to practice on.
Thank you for your replies everyone.

PastSellByDate Thu 06-Mar-14 13:48:10


This website will make free cursive writing sheets for you -

I used to type in DD2s spelling words and then have her write them out 3 times following the style I'd chosen.

Maybe this will help.

Germgirl Thu 06-Mar-14 13:53:30

That's brilliant. Thank you x

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