Handwriting is of fundamental importance to educating our pupils because pupils who do not learn to read and write fluently and confidently are, in every sense, disenfranchised. The mastery of automaticity in handwriting is therefore one of the key priorities of our school. Handwriting is a physical activity that involves movement and recognition skills that need to be learnt and become part of the automatic cognitive skill set of the pupil. To achieve this, we have chosen the Kinetic Letters handwriting programme.
The outcomes that we strive to ensure all our pupils achieve are:
- Having fluent, legible and speedy handwriting that can be performed automatically, so that the attention of the brain is on the content of the writing.
- Having the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation.
- Having competence in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition.
- Writing clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Having a comfortable and efficient pencil hold and working position.
The Kinetic Letters programme has four threads.
- Making bodies stronger
- Holding the pencil (for speed, comfort and legibility)
- Learning the letters
- Flow and fluency
The key principles of the programme are:
- Building physical strength underpins handwriting and concentration. This knowledge informs the working positions that children use for writing and the strengthening targets they work on.
- Pupils are not expected to do anything before they are developmentally ready for it.
- The different components of writing are mastered individually before being used in combination.
- Letters are learnt as movements, not as visual shapes, and movement remains central to developing automaticity in letter formation, flow and fluency.
- Posture is important in developing the correct position for handwriting and so children are taught how to organise their working position and paper position to enable comfortable and fluent writing from the start.
- Correct pencil hold is taught from the start (ie as soon as a tri-pod grip is developmentally appropriate).
The Kinetic Letters programme is commenced in Nursery and is used throughout the School. By the end of KS1 children will be using some of the strokes needed to join letters; teaching this will start in Year 2. Handwriting is taught daily, in discrete sessions. Handwriting sessions are taught to the whole class, with differentiated targets.