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Handwriting is now illegible

(17 Posts)
greedygreedyguzzler Wed 18-Oct-17 16:00:47

My son is in year 10 and has always had bad handwriting but now it is getting worse and worse and is practically illegible! I worry no one will be able to read his exam papers as it is so bad. Does anyone have any tips or ideas how he can improve it please?

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 16:12:40

Why has his handwriting got worse? Is he being lazy and needing to take more care or are the demands of extended writing getting too much? If there are concerns about reading his exam papers then there is the possibility that he could use a laptop for them but he would need to start using it ASAP to establish it as his ‘normal way of working’ for the access arrangement application.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 18-Oct-17 16:13:05

Have you checked for dysgraphia? This is when writing is very difficult, remains a conscious process (so requires effort to remember how to form letters etc) and writing can be very painful. It’s genre diagnosed when writing doesn’t improve despite support. DS is dysgraphia and he can write as long as that’s all he has to do (so his handwriting looks fine if he’s just practicing) however ask him to do maths or write an essay and his writing goes to pot as his brain focuses on the task.

I’ve tried loads of handwriting support for him - special pencils, writing grips, handwriting practice etc none of it helped. Now he gets to use a computer in classes and exams which is a huge help.

Theworldisfullofidiots Wed 18-Oct-17 16:18:39

Pencils don't help. They require more pressure than pens.
I don't know about dysgraphia so xanthine help there.
My ds's handwriting improved with pens and in particular a fountain pen.
If school doesn't allow pens a propelling pencil is better.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 16:20:45

You’re not allowed to write exams in pencil, it’s black ink only.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 18-Oct-17 16:27:11

From the sound of things, I'd probably look at getting him doing his extended writing on a laptop as soon as possible. The school just need to prove it's his normal method of working.
Handwriting is a real problem. I am continually shocked at the number of students who complain about their hands hurting after only 45 minutes of writing these days! That's by the by though. They need to be able to demonstrate what they can do.
Noble is correct, exams MUST be done in black ink not any other form of writing. Contact the school's SEN department, I'm sure they'll be helpful.

Theworldisfullofidiots Wed 18-Oct-17 16:30:59

Sorry I misread yr 10 as being 10 years old.

camptownraces Wed 18-Oct-17 17:07:52

Year 10 is a bit late to reform his handwriting. He may be producing illegible script because he feels under pressure to produce a lot of text, and possibly his pen grip is not ideal, his letters are badly formed.

However, you'd be surprised at the poor handwriting which examiners actually CAN read and mark.

For word processing to be put in place, the school has to agree that the handwriting is unsatisfactory in some way (illegible, slow, painful)

A school is expected to have a policy on the use of word processors these days. (It could be on school website.) Many schools will insist on providing laptops which cannot be taken home, so printing work off has to be done in school. Exams will have to be done on "clean" computers provided by the school.

Best idea is for OP to talk to the SENCo about WP going forward: this is assuming he has a good typing speed, and preferably that he can touch type. If not, he'll need to get cracking with these skills.

Oddsocks15 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:43:39

My DS in Y9 handwriting is illegible too. He had support in primary and they taught him cursive which I’m not sure has done him any favours.

His English teacher has mentioned to him but apparently (according to DS), no other teachers have expressed concern.

I didn’t know DS could use a laptop for his GCSEs... best I contact the SENCO

bigTillyMint Wed 18-Oct-17 21:49:30

Well DS had terrible handwriting up until about Y10 when he realised that presentation is imortant in exams. His work is now pretty neat for a male grin

OP, what do his teachers say?

Oddsocks15 Thu 26-Oct-17 21:03:33

So spurred on by this thread, I emailed the SENco of DS school. She had replied to say he can start some touch typing interventions.

Perhaps I am being a bit hmm but she hasn’t seen his writing she replied during half-term so doubt that she has spoken to any of his teachers. Just seems a bit too easy..

orangeplum Sat 28-Oct-17 19:41:29

I am not sure where you live but I can really recommend Magic Link handwriting. It's designed for people of all ages and has transformed my sons handwriting. If you live in North or SW London there are classes otherwise you can buy a DVD and workbook package. It is not cheap but well worth it.

I suggest you google it to find out more.

CotswoldStrife Sat 28-Oct-17 20:00:24

I like the look of that Magic Link course, but you're right it's not cheap!

My DD is in Year 6, if they can't link letters then her chances of meeting the handwriting standard is nil this year, I'm told sad I'm really thinking about that course now, unfortunately I don't live close to the classes.

KittyVonCatsington Sat 28-Oct-17 20:09:41

Encouraging him to not write joined up/cursive can make the world of difference in some cases.

Gorja Sat 28-Oct-17 20:16:36

My daughters was awful and teachers were saying they couldn’t read it and she was losing marks for it.
We decided to go back to basics and stop doing joined up writing. Worked fab, now her handwriting is fine as long as she doesn’t join it up. English teacher wasn’t best pleased but hey ho.

Moussemoose Sat 28-Oct-17 20:21:04

Simples. Use a laptop. If this is his 'normal way of working' he can use it in exams. That is a quote from JCQ guidelines.

Secondary school = talk to the SENCO. Agree your ds can use a laptop. Sorted.

My ds has illegible handwriting he has 3 A levels and is at uni.

eddiemairswife Sat 28-Oct-17 20:24:42

I was always told off about my bad handwriting at school, but I still managed to get decent O and A Levels. It is still poor.

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