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I would really value your experiences/opinions/knowledge!

 

I have been teaching Reception for many years now! but I am still questioning myself, trying to find the best way etc etc for the children.

 

I have been in my present school for nearly 3 years and do love it. We have a very passionate Literacy Manager who is also a Year 6 teacher and she feels very VERY strongly about joined handwriting from Reception. I have only been too happy to go along with this because I feel strongly about supporting whole school initiatives and trust the research that says it is for the best...

 

BUT it has kind of hit me like a bolt out of the blue that actually my children find joined handwriting really, really, really difficult - to the point where, I believe, they are put off writing altogether. I have also come to dread teaching letter formation because it just feels like such an impossible task. Years ago, we introduced joined up writing in the nursery and Reception class where I was working but stopped after a year.

 

Writing is a real issue for our school, with poor Key Stage 1 results - they do seem to make up the ground in Key Stage 2. I am now thinking the reason is obvious - joined hand writing but before I voice my concerns I just want to know what you lot think. I want to do the right thing.

 

Hope you can help.

PS we do Write Dance in the Nursery and would describe our classes as quite laid back with lots of play all the time!

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I teach the children to write in a cursive script and this is done through a set of jingles. The jingles enable the children to follow a letter route and this seems to stick in their memory. Some children manage this through repitition and for others its a hard slog. I do question the theory sometimes because for the boys this seems a more difficult task.

 

Good Luck.

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We teach cursive handwriting in preparation for joining up from Reception, and I find it difficult, year one teachers have also been worried about undertaking it. We teach the lead ins for each letter, but they don't join until later.

 

We have had all the relevant research, and in theory it all seems to make perfect sense, but in practice i seem to find it a total nightmare. For the kids who have really good fine motor skills and fairly well developed handwriting it isn't so much of a problem, but for the rest, they can find it very hard, the lead ins tend to make the formation difficult, and many of them are put off trying. We use lots of approaches to teach handwriting, whole class, large scale, different media etc etc, but I personally feel that it confuses a large number of children. Is it just me, or do others have similar worries?

 

I would also be really interested in the jingles, if you could share that would be great.

 

cheers

 

bb

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We used to teach a cursive style of handwriting (jolly phonics/sassoon) but have decided this year to adopt joined from the line style from reception. Its still very early in the year and we are only doing large scale letter formation activities but up to now its successful. The children find it a more flowing movement andare coping very well. Ive noticed the children who struggled last year and come back to do letter formation with me are finding it easier but this could be because they did the cursive style last year.

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I do wonder whether children are finding increasing difficulty in this area. I think we set many up for failure with present perceptions of achievement and tracking. However I also think children are not as mobile as they used to be and I think may have not developed skills needed. I think climbing, balancing e.t.c and anything that helps cross hemisphere connections in the brain will benefit later. Lots of gross motor movement is paramount. I have also found lots of teaching how to do straight lines and circles through fun play activities with the F1 with handwriting language attached helps when they get to the Reception Year. Also lots of large making activities too.

 

I have taught both ways and agree for the less physically able introducing handwriting too soon is a put off.

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I have a reception class in a large infant school. We have been teaching joined writing for the last 10 years - it is hard work initially, but really worth it! - we teach it fairly formally with the full time children. Letter formation is vital as well as teaching tthe joins. By the end of the year their spelling is super as well. (because they have learnt to spell the words joined & so have a good flow to the words - does this make sense?).

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I'm with CCR - it is harder to start with but once established the children do well and dont have the blip as they learn to join.

 

I was new to the school last year and quite sceptical about the whole thing, but went with it as it was a whole school policy following critical comments by Ofsted some years before. I have to say I am converted now!

 

We use write dance and patterning activities - but no formal writing until January. I began by introducing the 'easier' letters - i, l j, e and taught them as stand alone until the children had the formation then did joining just 2 letters then 3 - using nonsense words then cvc / hfw. We didnt record to start with - used individual black and white boards. We have a short handwriting session each day too. Write Dance continues and the children often ask to pattern too!

 

The children who had difficulty with the joining from the start were those who did a lot of writing at nursery or home and had firmly established formation in their heads. For these we had a small group offering extra help.

 

Sparklebox and communication4u have good free resources. Good luck

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Thanks for all the replies - really helps. I think I know where I am going wrong - I have avoided anything vaguely 'formal'. I do like the idea of starting in January and now we have re-organised our day I feel ready to really go for it!

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I'm going to be joining a school that uses the starting from the line style of cursive. previously I have used Cripps and joined from the start but found children needed to learn letters individually before joining.

Do you teach the letters with the "in join" as stand alones from the beginning or do the children need to learn without first?

 

I visited a school some time ago who had Beacon status for their handwriting and did lots of patterning etc first before introducing formal writing. They actually went through all their printed material (reading books etc) altering the fonts to correspond with the starting from the line style!

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I love the idea of getting settled and having a good go at phonics before we hit the handwriting. We get to do lots of talk and have lots of active tasks. Then in January we are all a bit more settled (and I mean all!!) and its good to do something different. I will probably be criticised for that bit of formality in my day though - but it works for me - around lots of other freer stuff.

 

I teach the individual letters one day - air writing - sand - iwb then whiteboards then the next morning for 5 minutes whilst I do the register the children have another go and begin to join (well after the first couple of weeks...) they really enjoyed it last year and would suggest simple words to join.

 

I do have cursive stuff around the classroom and have a good programme called Handwriting for Windows which does it on the PC - but I also have comic san and other fonts too.

 

:)

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