Tips For Teaching How to Join Letters When Handwriting
Some children will find the join strokes a little tricky to start with, so try using the joins section in pre-handwriting patterns to help them learn the additional pencil strokes needed.
Teach the joins in groups, just as you did for letter formation, and build up their confidence by starting with the easiest joins.
Begin by joining 2 or 3 letters together at a time rather than long lines of joins that go across the page. It is best to match the number of letters joining to a sensible word length.
Remind your child that the aim is not to take their pencil off the paper until the number of letters or word has been completed, then they dot the “i’s” and “j’s” and cross the “t’s”.
Capital letters can cause a bit of a problem as children often know that they do not join, however it can cause a spacing issue with large gaps being left between the capital letter and the rest of the word. Try asking them to place the pencil point next to the capital letter where they think they will start writing the rest of the word. You can then help them learn to adjust their spacing and talk it through.
A tip that will help when a child is just learning to join and is copying from a text or board is to teach them to take a word or a couple of words at a time rather than looking up for every letter of a word. This may seem obvious to us as adults but you will be surprised how many children do this.
If the words to be copied or written are known to the child you can start of by say “if you know it then just write it”, if they need the reassurance that they do know the spelling ask them to spell it out loud to you using the letter names not sounds. Correct the spelling if necessary or confirm it, get them to say it again, and then say “now write it”. They may find it helpful to say the letter names as they write, not only does this help the flow of their writing and build their confidence, but also supports their spelling knowledge.
For new words, which your child cannot spell, say the letter names and get them to repeat them. Then, as they write, get them to say the letter names. If you see them hesitating, or it looks like they have forgotten, prompt them by saying “now go into (whatever the next letter it is)”. What you want is for your child to keep the pencil on the paper and the letters flowing. Remember, you are helping them to learn to join their handwriting not spelling; it is just a happy coincidence that the activity also supports spelling.
If they make a mistake then don’t rub it out, just try again. If you want to, put a line through it. Remember making mistakes is how we learn, we should not feel ashamed of it. It also allows you and your child to see how much they are improving as time goes on.