Handwriting and letter formation

Handwriting and letter formation

Click here to jump straight to lower case letter formation, capital (upper case) letter formation or number (digit) formation videos.

Handwriting and letter formation

Children start to learn about correct letter formation in their first year of primary school. At this point, more importance is placed on the way they do things, ie the correct way to hold the pencil, and the correct way to form all the letters of the alphabet when they are writing. 

Why correct letter formation is important

You could argue that as long as the letter looks right on paper, it doesn't matter how it got there, right? However, the reasoning behind correct formation, with designated start and end points for each letter is to aid fluid and speedy writing. This will ease the transition to joined-up writing further down the line. 

As an adult, you may have developed habits in which you form letters differently to the stipulated way, and I'm sure it doesn't hold you back. But trust us when we say that forming letters with the right start and end points makes things easier in the long run. 

Lefties / southpaws

It's undeniable - the world is set up for right handers, as any lefty who has freshly smudged their message on a greeting card can attest. In years gone by, left-handedness was associated with evil and while thankfully the world has moved on from that notion, schools continued to insist that children write only with their right hands until well into the 20th Century. 

Learning to write as a lefty is not as simple as just switching hands, and education in general has been slow to catch on to this, but there is now a wealth of resources to help make sure that left handed children have as many hints and tips as those who use their right hand. 

Set up for handwriting success

  • Pencil grip

First, make sure the pencil grip is right. Known as the tripod grip, the pencil should be held loosely between the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger in a supportive position. The hand needs to be pretty relaxed - if your child has a death grip on the pencil, it's probably not quite right. 

  • Position

Are you sitting comfortably? This part doesn't seem that important, but it is. If your child is having to reach up or down to write, particularly in the early days when they're trying to get that pencil grip perfected, it's going to throw everything off. The surface they're writing on will ideally be at elbow height when they are seated, so that the forearms can rest comfortably on the table. 

  • Paper

Yes, the paper should be positioned in a particular way too - it should be tilted so that it is in line with the writing arm. So for right handed kids that means tilting it to the left with the upper right corner of the paper pointing up, and for left handed kids, it will be angled to the right. 

Here is a really clear guide that should help you with all of the above. 

Forming letters

Most schools start with lowercase letters and then move on to capitals. Use the links below to see how to form lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as the numbers 0-9. 

Lowercase letter formation videos

Capital (upper case) letter formation videos

Numbers digit 0-9 formation videos

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