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Handwriting at the end of year 2

(18 Posts)
Namechangenurseryconcerns Wed 29-Jun-16 23:34:40

dd's handwriting is getting worse.

She is left handed and still won't hold her pencil properly preferring to grip it in her fist.

She writes fairly fast but it's a scrawl: Letters not formed properly, joins not used correctly if at all, words floating above the line, inconsistent sizing etc etc etc.

If I try to get her to hold her pencil properly she complains it hurts after a minute.

We've tried special pencils, soft grips etc. None make much difference.

Her spelling is pretty good and has some good ideas but both are let down by what looks like careless presentation.

I'm happy to have another push on it over the summer but she is reluctant to do much!

Any bright ideas?

CodyKing Wed 29-Jun-16 23:41:05

She's holding the pen too tight.
Buy a left handed pen
Tilt the page
Get some sticker chart handwriting books

TweeBee Wed 29-Jun-16 23:43:42

My DD is in F2 and I've been trying to think of ways to encourage her practising over the summer. She does sometimes do little notes etc but to make it a regular thing I'm going to buy a special scrapbook and she's going to keep a v simple diary. I think just mon - fri so she gets time off. She'll like sticking tickets etc in too.
Also I have some giant chalks for writing on paving outside.
I'm thinking more practise will help. I have also got a sheet from the school of little rhymes to help remember letter formation. But I'm never sure whether to just be happy she's writing or to be pushing her to do it 'properly'.
Hope this helps. I know your DD is older.

nosireebob Wed 29-Jun-16 23:45:14

Just wondered, has she got any known issues such as hypermobility?

WTAFisgoingon Thu 30-Jun-16 03:10:22

I second checking for hyper mobility and dyspraxia etc.

Namechangenurseryconcerns Thu 30-Jun-16 06:41:27

Hmm-I certainly wouldn't say there were any hyper mobility issues but have found this list of signs of dyspraxia in 7 year olds:

By 7 years old
Problems may include:

Difficulties in adapting to a structured school routine-no
Difficulties in Physical Education lessons-no
Slow at dressing-Yes
Unable to tie shoe laces-yes
Barely legible handwriting-yes
Immature drawing and copying skills-no
Limited concentration and poor listening skills-yes
Literal use of language-no
Inability to remember more than two or three instructions at once-yes
Slow completion of class work-yes
Continued high levels of motor activity-no
Hand flapping or clapping when excited-no
Tendency to become easily distressed and emotional-no
Problems with co-ordinating a knife and fork-yes
Inability to form relationships with other children-no
Sleeping difficulties, including wakefulness at night and nightmares-no
Reporting of physical symptoms, such as migraine, headaches, feeling sick-no

So she meets a few of the criteria but I have always put those things down to general immaturity and (for want of a better word) laziness.

what has just jumped out at me is that her drawing is pretty good so it's not a lack of ability to control her pencil, it's bad habits and (again sad) laziness.

LucyLastik Thu 30-Jun-16 06:55:02

My DS is the same. School referred him to occupational therapy and they assessed him for dyspraxia but found he has hypermobility in all his joints, except his ankles. He had a course of physio for both his fine and gross motor skills and we can go back whenever we need to for more.

He now uses a slanted writing board and a cross guard pencil grip which he fussed about using but it does make a difference. His writing is still not great but it is a big improvement on last year. He is Year 3 btw. Might be worth asking the senco at school for an OT referral.

crazybat Thu 30-Jun-16 07:00:06

From what you've written it seems she struggles with fine motor skills.

Maybe mention it to senco and see if they suggest anything that could improve it. Good luck op

0hCrepe Thu 30-Jun-16 07:06:30

It might just take a bit of time as well, many y2s struggle but it can change quickly.
Most schools will have a handwriting intervention for those who need it which works miracles where I teach. Usually takes place in y3 or y4. My ds did it twice and is fine now and a boy I teach went from almost completely illegible to beautiful when he had his 'pen licence' in his sights. On a practical level many exercise books and worksheets aren't lined or have tiny gaps to write in and this doesn't help. I requested that my ds had lines on his papers which helped guide his writing.

Namechangenurseryconcerns Thu 30-Jun-16 07:31:39

I've mentioned it to the teacher every year but they haven't seemed worried.
We seem to be in a trap of wanting her to write more but this means she rushes and doesn't form the letters right. In handwriting practise it's not too bad but this doesn't translate into her writing.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 30-Jun-16 07:48:32

One of the basics of handwriting is letter formation. Over the summer can you do lots and lots on this? Just concentrate on how to form the individual letters (starting points, shape, movement, moving on to where they sit on a line). Use sand in a tray/shaving foam on a surface to draw these with a finger then immediately wipe away and try again (literally over and over). Mid summer: move on to a whiteboard pen (but a thin one of a similar width to a pencil/pencil with a grip) and a whiteboard then repeat the process over and over. End of summer: again just letter formation but in a handwriting book with a pencil/pencil with a grip.

If you can get the formation right then the laziness and rushing when she's back at school without your help won't have such a huge impact as her muscle memory will ensure her letters are correctly formed.

I'm a teacher and would happily provide a parent who asked with whiteboard, handwriting book, etc for over the summer hols. Could you ask your DCs teacher?

Namechangenurseryconcerns Thu 30-Jun-16 08:46:27

Thank you-that sounds like a helpful process. Would you start with the letters alone or would you include the joining links/starting from the line etc? I know they are taught these in handwriting.

notagiraffe Thu 30-Jun-16 08:56:15

Buy her one of those squeezy stress toys this sort of thing and get her to squeeze 20 times three times a day, building up to 100.

Do arm wrestling with her, play finger animals etc - anything that helps build up the muscles in her writing arm. Make a big thing of having powerful muscles.

Get her to help you with a giant picture of the seaside with lots of curly waves (key formation for so many letters) or a princess in a party dress with loads of loops and curly frills etc. Don't mention that it's handwriting practise.

Write messages to each other in invisible ink (either buy invisible pens or use lemon juice or milk) that have to be legible.

DS (who has dyspraxia) was like this, and everyone thought he was lazy sad. He wasn't. He really struggled and got little help or sympathy from school because he was bright and they expected more of him. Don't think of it as laziness. Carry on looking for comfortable pens. They may not be the ergonomic ones. DS never got on with those. Just get a wide selection in and let her work it out.

If you can, try and correct her pen grip now. We left it far too late for DS and OT said he was too old to change. He's allowed to use a computer for exams. Long term, you may need to fight for this or extra time in exams. But that's way down the line.

PurpleCrazyHorse Thu 30-Jun-16 09:45:31

Would your DD respond to rewards? We used Lego and money as a reward for DD's reading practise. Expensive but it did the trick and once she got over the bump we've reigned back the rewards.

We used Hairy Letters app and you can buy rubber pens for tablets rather than drawing the letter with a finger. It's quite fun and DD enjoyed using it.

PurpleCrazyHorse Thu 30-Jun-16 09:46:01

Obviously once excluding any physical issues that need addressing.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 30-Jun-16 15:54:01

I would do letters with lead ins/entry strokes as they automatically make joins when you put them together (ie t starts on the line not in the air) but not do exit strokes as they're not necessary.

Giraffe's fine motor muscle strengthening exercises are all great ideas too.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 30-Jun-16 15:56:53

We don't use it in our school but have a handwriting pack that shows correct letter formation. Search 'cursive handwriting and letter formation pack' in twinkl.

Knightjam Fri 01-Jul-16 12:15:36

I would recommend to try a swan neck pen, it has improved my handwriting skill

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