As with pre-handwriting letters patterns, initially it is best to start with plain paper so that your child does not feel restricted in their movements or confined by size.
At an early stage of learning to form letters use a range of media and vertical and horizontal positions as it helps to engage your child as they will see it more as play. Use paint, chalk or sand to draw with, or in. The important thing is to model and explain how to make the letter shapes and the correct directional flow of the tool or hand.
Your child uses their gross motor skills at the early “big” stage of learning to form letters and moves to using their fine motor skills as they start to hold a pencil correctly and reduce the size of their handwriting.
As your child’s control and fine motor skills improve, so the size and space in which the letters are formed can be reduced (big to small). Remember the early stages are all about forming letters correctly rather than neatness and size.
We would recommend that you focus on teaching the lower case letters first and the capital letter of your child’s name.
Which lower case font style to teach depends on a couple of things: The font your child’s school teach is an important point to bear in mind as you want to support your child with their school work. If the school has no particular approach to handwriting (which they should have) then it is a personal preference. Here at Teach Handwriting we feel there is a strong argument for learning continuous cursive from the beginning.
Make your handwriting sessions short and sweet. Five minutes is ample to start with. If you try to make them too long your child will become bored and reluctant to do more. As their confidence and skills improve so will the amount of time they are happy to spend learning and practising their handwriting.
Left handed writers need to be taught to make the cross motion in the H, T, J, G and I from left to right, as their natural instinct is to go from right to left. If this is not corrected when writing E and F the cross lines will not be “anchored” to the letter.
Learning to handwrite is a difficult skill to master and takes time, patients and plenty of praise and encouragement.