Teaching Handwriting in Transitional Kindergarten

When it comes to handwriting, teaching takes a lot of patience! It is one of the most rewarding subjects for me to to teach, but I am not going to lie, it is really difficult at times. I get frustrated just like the students, and there are times when I want it to go faster. However I know that I need to spend a lot of time practicing this skill with my students so that they are successful when they go to kindergarten!

I start to teach handwriting within the first week of school. There are a lot of ways that you can do this, but the first way that I do is with a monthly name writing and self portrait. By starting this way I am hopefully having students work with letters they have already been exposed to.

I know that I work on name writing for the first few months of school. Once the students are able to confidently write their names with uppercase and lowercase letters it seems that their love for writing grows and so does their confidence!

Offer other places to work on handwriting

There are several ways that you can offer handwriting in your classroom to make your students engaged and excited. I offer a writing center in my class. If you are looking for some ways to help boost your classroom letter lessons, be sure to check out this post as well! There are some great ideas on how to make handwriting fun and engaging in your classroom!

Be sure to model the letters

I said in the beginning of this post that you need to do a lot of modeling when it comes to handwriting and that is the truth! When I am teaching handwriting the first thing that I do is ask students to put their pencils away…what?! I do that so that they can see how the letter is correctly formed and how to make it. I show them, and the practice writing the letter in the air with their finger. Then I have students practice writing the letter with their finger on the paper. I have them practice this way a way few times before the pick up their pencil and give it a go.  

Whole Group Handwriting

I teach handwriting as a whole group as well. First we trace the letters with our fingers, and practice making them with our fingers. Then I ask the students to make the letters on their own. I will walk around the room as they are writing and tracing, giving them encouraging words on their progress. I also take notes on the students who might be struggling with forming the letters and this way I know what to do during our small group activities.

Small Group Handwriting

If you offer small group to your students then this is a great time to work on their handwriting. I will have students come over to my small group and we will work on forming the letters together. I will often have a tracing page they can work with. We talk about forming the letters at the top and where we need to go (down) when writing. I try to do a handwriting small group at least 2 times a week so that students can get a lot of practice.  

If you have students struggling with handwriting…

  • Have students work on their fine motor skills. -using play doh will help strengthen their hands making it easier for them to form letters.
  • Use a highlighter to write the letters for the students and have them trace. It is a lot easier to trace over solid lines than it is to see all the dots!

Tips for successful handwriting in the classroom:

  • Have them try again and again. It is okay for them to need to trace and write the letters several times before they do it correctly. Remember that they need to form the letters starting at the top so it is okay to be strict on letter formation.
  • Always have students start at the top! Trust me, you want them to start formation the correct way, it is a lot harder to undo incorrect formation!  
  • Even though I start with their names, when it comes to letter drills I always do a letter every 3 04 days. Do not overwhelm them. I also try to stick with letters that are formed the same way,

I love teaching handwriting and think that the students really benefit from learning early. I would love to know what you do for handwriting in your classroom so let me know! Send me an email at classroomsandcats@gmail.com

Happy Teaching!