About the speaker: Amanda Mcleod is a highly-skilled specialist teacher with experience in both state and private education. She is an expert on handwriting and touch typing and a member of the National Handwriting Association. Qualifications include: BA (King's, London), PGCE (Roehampton), Diploma in Special Educational Needs (Dyslexia Action and University of York) and AMBDA (British Dyslexia Association).
Further information about this Talk
For more information about Amanda McLeod and her handwriting and touch typing practice please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- Sitting position: This is very important in handwriting as it assists good flow when writing. The body should be leaning forwards, with the weight on the feet and elbows supporting the body. The back should be straight.
- Paper and pencil position: The most common pencil grip is the dynamic tripod grip though there are other efficient grips which may be more suitable for your child. The most important thing is not to hold the pencil too close or too far away from the led. Paper should be at a slight slant and if necessary over the mid-line of the body. This allows the body room to write - the elbow can travel down the paper and not bump into the body when writing.
- Lighting: Make sure that both electrical and natural light do not cast shadows over the paper as this can cause eye strain. The light should be on the left hand side for right handers and on the right hand side for left handers.
- When writing: Children should should ensure their hand is underneath their writing rather than to the side. If it is to the side, when the hand moves across the page it can smudge if ink is being used.
- The eight common errors in handwriting:
- Writing should be sitting on the line.
- All trunk letters should be at the same height.
- Ascenders (b,d,f,h,k,l,t) and descenders (f,g,j,p,q,y) should go to the correct height. Ascenders should rise above the trunk line. Descenders should descend below the trunk line to the correct depth.
- The formation of letters needs to be correct. Follow the school's handwriting scheme or ask a teacher how he or she would like your child to form his/her letters. At speed incorrectly formed letters can reduce legibility.
- Joins need to be correctly formed to allow the handwriting to flow across the page. A useful rule is end high, join high / end low, join low. If a letter ends high (e.g. "v" or "o") then it should join high and vice versa.
- Spacing between letters and words: Encourage a child to remember letter spaces to promote legibility. Word spaces need to be about the size of an "o" rather than a little finger. A little finger is fine when a child is in reception but by the time your child reaches three or four a little finger will make the handwriting too large.
- Handwriting needs to slant in the same direction.
- Corrections: It is far better to cross out neatly rather than overcorrect.