Progression of Handwriting
In Reception, children have many opportunities to write throughout the school day – including during child-initiated learning. Many move rapidly from mark making towards using letters and groups of letters to communicate meaning. Most children also learn to form letters and digits correctly and also begin to use spaces between words. They also start to position their letters on lines. If ready, towards the end of their time in reception, some children may begin to use lead in strokes.
In Year One, letter formation is secured, and children learn to write with some difference between upper and lower-case letters. They are taught to use lead in strokes for all of their letters which leads them naturally towards the development of cursive writing. By the end of Year One, the majority of children are joining their letters.
This cursive style is secured during Year Two as the children make rapid progress with the fluency of their writing. They also learn to control the size of their letters and refine their style. The form capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to-lower case letters. They also begin to use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.
When children are ready, they move from pencil to pen (usually during Year Three). They enjoy receiving their pen licence and work hard to make the adjustment from pencil to pen. At this age, children also make the move to narrow lines in their books, thus reducing the size of their writing. They increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting (e.g. by ensuring that downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant). During Year Four, children continue to work on refining their joins and also the fluency of their cursive style, paying attention to size and spacing. They write legibly and their increased fluency allows them to produce more developed, longer pieces of independent writing.
By Years Five and Six, all children write with a pen and often develop their own unique cursive style. By this age, the vast majority of children have a natural cursive style which allows them to write legibly, fluently and at speed.