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Make handwriting meaningful for the upper years

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Make handwriting meaningful for the upper years

Writing Time 12/2/16


The key to engaging upper primary students in handwriting practice is to make it both meaningful and manageable. Give them relevant and engaging practice activities rather than asking them to copy lengthy, meaningless texts.

Demonstrate uses

With digital technology use on the increase it’s important to show upper primary students how they will continue to need handwriting skills throughout high school and later life. For example, demonstrate how handwriting is important when:

  • note-taking – to record facts quickly and legibly
  • brainstorming – to facilitate free thinking and a flow of ideas.
Use music as a motivator

Musical handwriting lessons are a fun way to help students develop speed and technique. Have them copy one of the short texts in Writing Time while listening to slow-paced, relaxing music and then repeat with faster, up-tempo music. Students then compare the results to reflect on technique.

Cater to all abilities

In any class there may be students struggling with letter formation and others already writing in a mature style. Choose activities that are meaningful and appeal to students of all abilities. Writing Time Student Books contain a range of such activities, including:

  • filling in forms
  • making diary entries
  • decorating headings
  • copying amusing extracts
  • addressing envelopes
  • labelling diagrams
  • completing crosswords
  • developing a signature.
Develop fine motor skills

Provide opportunities for fine motor skill development to support students who struggle with handwriting. Patterns, decorations, colouring, tracing and drawing are all engaging ways to develop fine motor skills in older students.

Value handwriting

Finally, remind students that handwriting will always have personal uses in our technological world. Discuss the emotions evoked by handwritten notes and diary entries so students will value the effort they put into handwriting.

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