Please take a look at our welcome video on the 'About us' page. We hope you enjoy the virtual tour of our wonderful school!

RLT Trust
Home Page

Edith Moorhouse Primary School Reach For The Stars



How is handwriting taught at Edith Moorhouse?

Handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically throughout the school, beginning in our pre-school.

In Pre-School, children should be encouraged to mark-make using a range of different materials and then give meaning to their marks. Children should start to understand that they write from left to right and from the top to the bottom of the page. 

As the children move from Pre-school into Reception, they will be taught to hold a pencil correctly using a tripod pencil grip, where the pencil is gripped between the index finger and the thumb. The middle finger is then used to support the underside of the pencil. Children should be encouraged to adopt the correct writing posture and they should be taught the correct page orientation depending on whether they are left or right handed. Careful consideration should be taken as to whether children are left or right handed when seating children.


In Reception, the children should start to learn how to form individual print letters (both upper and lower case) on lined paper using regular sized pencils. The letters taught will match the graphemes covered in the children’s phonics lessons and are outlined on the Handwriting Knowledge and Skills Progression document. Each letter should be taught individually, using the appropriate rhyme (see letter formation document), ensuring that the children start and finish each letter in the appropriate place. Each capital letter should be taught alongside the lower case letter. Children that reverse or misform letters should be identified and regular reminders and/or prompts should be given. By the end of Year 1, the children should have a secure understanding of how to form both lower and upper case letters. Children should write on lined paper wherever possible and should not be encouraged to practise their handwriting or letter formation using a white board and pen. 


At the start of Year 2, the children consolidate their understanding of print letter formation before being introduced to the smile and diagonal joins. Pupils should develop a secure understanding of when to use a diagonal or a smile join and which letters are best to remain unjoined. Capital letters, letters separated by an apostrophe and the letter ‘q’ should never be joined. Pupils should practise the letters individually with both the diagonal and smile lead-ins before progressing to joining letters to form words. Children should not be asked to join letters that they have not been taught and consequently words the children are asked to join in handwriting sessions should be carefully chosen.


By the Spring term of Year 2, the children should have been exposed to all of the letters in the alphabet and therefore should be encouraged to write in joined handwriting in all of their work. By the end of Year 2, the children should be able to confidently join their handwriting and have a good understanding of which letters should and shouldn’t be joined.


As the children progress into Year 3, the focus should be on consolidating their understanding and use of letter joins. They will continue to have formal, sequential handwriting lessons until the Spring term of Year 4 where handwriting lessons will be tailored to the specific needs of the class, focusing on size, accuracy and legibility.


In UKS2, the children should be encouraged to soften the diagonal joins to develop a more fluid and individualised style of handwriting. As in Year 4, handwriting lessons should be tailored to the needs of the class, focusing on speed, accuracy and legibility.


A typical handwriting lesson may contain all or some of the following elements, depending on the stage that the children are working at:

  • Gross motor skills warm-up e.g. arm circles, wall presses, chair pushes
  • Fine motor skills warm-up e.g. finger rhymes, finger disco, dough disco
  • Introduction of the letter(s) that the children are going to be joining
  • Reminder of the print letter formation by teacher modelling, use of the letter script, handwriting videos and other resources
  • Reminder of smile, diagonal and half-smile joins and when they should be used
  • Modelling of both the smile and diagonal lead-in to the letter and the join that leads out, using the letter script, handwriting videos (I do)
  • As a class children follow the letter formation with their finger (gross motor skills) saying the letter script (We do)
  • Children then trace over the letter before attempting to write the letter(s) on lined paper (You do)
  • Feedback should be given and any incorrect letter formation should be picked up here
  • The same ‘I do, We do, You do’ method should be used when modelling how to write whole words in a joined hand. As mentioned previously, careful consideration should be given to the words chosen for this activity. Children should only join letters for which they have already practised the smile and diagonal lead-in.

In 2022, Edith Moorhouse embarked on our journey of 'Opening Doors to Ambitious Writing.'

‘Opening Doors' is all about making challenging texts and a quality English curriculum available to all our learners.

LKS2 took on the challenge of Alice in Wonderland as their first 'Opening Doors' unit. You can see two pieces of work published on the Crown House Publishing website.



Writing in Action