Category: Handwriting Development

Handwriting development begins from the time your child starts to use a crayons to put marks on a page. This is called mark making.

Their scribbles start to take form in the basic lines such as the vertical, horizontal, circle and diagonal lines. They then put these lines together form shapes or even a person. Eventually these shapes are put together to form letters and numbers. Handwriting development follows a sequence from shaky letter formation to handwriting that can see them through examinations.
Handwriting is the process of forming letters. Number formation is also included under handwriting. Writing is the process of taking those letters and putting them together to from words, sentences and paragraphs with meaning.

The first time your child formally encounters handwriting development and letter formation is usually learning to write their name. We have a blog post about this and encourage you to use lower-case letters for this. In the blog posts we look at how important it is to use a multi-sensory approach for handwriting. This ensures the brain gets and stores as much information as it can on how to form a letter or number. We also focus on the teaching order of letters that encourages correct letter formation.

Good handwriting development is not only about letter formation. The physical aspects of how the book is positioned on the table, as well as stabilising the page with the helping hand play a critical role in the establishment of good handwriting patterns. The blog posts cover this and provide dowloadable resources to empower teachers, parents and occupational therapists to help their children with handwriting development.

Children can struggle with handwriting development and acquisition. Sometimes their pencil control is really poor which results in poorly formed and shaky letters. Children also struggle with the correct orientation of letters and numbers which can result in letter and number reversals.

The goal of the handwriting development part of the blog is to inform and empower so that those involved with helping children have strategies and a direction to follow to help them.

This social story for kids is about a boy called Bongi. He struggles with messy handwriting. This story helps children to understand that untidy handwriting is not their fault.

Social Story for Kids. Bongi’s Messy Handwriting Battle

Social stories have been around since the beginning of time.  Children on the laps of their parents have listened as their parents related stories that included them.  Parents also included experiences and lessons they wanted their children to learn.  It seems parents inherently knew how to do this.  Our social story for kids explores the… Read more »


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Handwriting Research. My Go-to Handwriting Resources

There are mountains of handwriting research and resources by different people.  As those practising in the field we rely on this research to ensure we are following best practise when it comes to handwriting intervention. I am an on-the-ground clinician whose skill is to find activities that inherently address the movements and skills we are… Read more »


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Handwriting Teaching Strategies. 7 Critical Principles

The teaching of handwriting is a vast topic.  After over 30 years of exploring the subject I am still learning more every day.  But not everyone wants to spend 30 years immersing themselves in the different aspects of handwriting!  If you want to find the most important handwriting teaching strategies in one place so you… Read more »


reversing letters and numbers when writing, b-d reversals, letter reversal interventions, is it normal for my child to write letters backwards

Reversing Letters and Numbers when Writing.  When is it Normal?

There is a horrible cold feeling that comes over a parent when they see their child is writing their letters or numbers backwards.  The reason for this is simple: it has always been “out there” that letter reversals mean dyslexia, which is a “scary sounding thing that affects children’s learning.”  It can be comforting to… Read more »


Why is bilateral integration so important

Why is Bilateral Integration so Important for Handwriting?

Why is bilateral integration so important?  Handwriting is a bilateral task.  We need to stabilise the page with one hand and write with the other.  We cannot expect our hand to be a mover and a stabiliser at the same time.  This is why we need a sound bilateral foundation on which to build the… Read more »


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Activities to Improve Handwriting. Dinosaur Themed!

When we are helping children with handwriting foundations, sometimes all we want are some easily accessible grab-and-go activities we can implement at a moments notice.  While we do love to know the theory behind everything, we also need fun activities to improve handwriting that are going to enable us to apply that theory and see measurable… Read more »


Ocupational therapy handwriting and fine motor exercises

Occupational Therapy Handwriting Homework.  Yes or No?

I have a folder on my computer for OT home programmes.  It is overflowing with written programmes and guides for the countless numbers of children I have seen over the years.  Going through it is a little like a trip down memory lane.  I wonder how those children are doing now, and if their handwriting… Read more »


Kids who hate writing

My Child Hates Handwriting: 5 Reasons Why They May Hate it.

Some children just hate handwriting.  End of story.  They resist it, they hurry to get it done and it becomes a huge emotional hurdle.  Our challenge is to understand why children are hating it, and find ways to overcome it.  Handwriting is a critical foundation skill for story writing and composition, which are one of… Read more »


pros and cons of cursive handwriting

The Benefits of Cursive Handwriting: It Saves the Day!

Cursive handwriting seems to bring out diametrically opposed opinions.  People either love it, or hate it.  The cursive lovers speak only of the pros of cursive, while the haters speak only of the disadvantages.  I come from the place of looking at what cursive handwriting can offer us.  I am clear about the benefits of… Read more »


Teaching writing in the foundation phase

Automaticity in Handwriting. WHAT to write not HOW to write.

Automaticity in handwriting is the ability to automatically recall letter formation patterns so your child can think about WHAT to write, not HOW to write.  Handwriting automaticity is not something we hear about as often as pencil grip or fine motor skills; but it is a critical aspect of handwriting acquisition which cannot, and must… Read more »


Number formation for kids

Teaching Correct Number Formation: Implications for Maths.

When it comes to handwriting, we always talk about children needing to have automatic handwriting so they can think about WHAT to write, not HOW to write.  And that holds true so much more for maths.  Automaticity in number formation is essential for achievement in maths, making teaching correct number formation a critical foundation skill… Read more »


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Writing on the Lines: Should our Kids Write on Lines?

Like so many aspects of handwriting, the writing lines vs no writing lines debate is as passionate and diverse as there are people discussing it.  Should our focus be writing on the lines, or should our children work on blank paper and within wide writing lines? The South African CAPS Handwriting Curriculum advocates that children… Read more »


how do i teach my child to write their name

How to Teach my Child to Write their Name the Easy Way

There is no hard and fast rule as to when a child should write their name.  But usually by Grade 00 your child’s peers are starting to write their names on their art work, and that can either light the spark, or can even put them under pressure to feel like they should be able… Read more »


Teaching children to type

Dysgraphia or Disorder in Written Expression. How to Help

While we promote handwriting and its benefits from improved story writing and composition, to aiding with memory and recall; there are times when handwriting has gone really wrong.  Some children have Dysgraphia or Disorder in Written Expression, and no amount of handwriting intervention has been able to assist them with achieving fluid and legible handwriting…. Read more »


tips to help older kids with handwriting

Handwriting Help for Older Children. When is it too Late?

So long as there aren’t any fundamental underlying neurological or other medical issues at play, the answer is it’s never too late.  Handwriting help for older children can really assist them.  But there is one condition that needs to be present for improvement to take place. Your child has got to want it really badly. … Read more »


does occupational therapy help with handwriting

Does Occupational Therapy Help with Handwriting?

By the time our children enter Grade 1, they have usually learned to write their names, and may be able to write letters and numbers.  The more advanced amongst them will even be able to write words and sentences.  But for the most part, handwriting is the domain of the Grade 1 classroom.  Our teachers… Read more »


occupational therapy for writing skills

Tips for Improving your Handwriting: Stabilise the Page!

When looking for tips for improving your handwriting and the mechanics of good handwriting, there is one thing that WILL improve handwriting.  Every time!  And that is stabilising the page for handwriting. Tips for improving your handwriting: the working hand must be allowed to do its job When the page is not stabilised with the… Read more »