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Parents & Pupils

How to support your child with Letter Formation and Handwriting

On this page, we will give you some more information about letter formation, handwriting and how you can help at home.

We will cover:

  •  Developing fine motor control
  •  How to form the letters correctly.
  •  Common problems with letter formation
  •  Letter Confusions
  •  Why forming letters correctly is so important? 


Developing Fine Motor Control

Fine motor control is the coordination of muscles, bones, and nerves to produce small, exact movements. An example of fine motor control is picking up a small item with the index finger (pointer finger or forefinger) and thumb.  For children to be able to use the 'tripod' grip (using the thumb, fore finger and middle finger) to hold a pen correctly, they need to build up strength and co-ordination.

To do this, we recommend supervised activities such as:

  •  Building with duplo and lego
  •  Placing small objects in particular places, e.g. placing buttons for eyes on drawings of faces, putting stones into a circle for a birds' nest etc
  • Using playdough to make, press and roll shapes.  Making your own is cheap and easy (recipe here:  Playdough recipe - BBC Good Food
  • Threading activities such as string or ribbon through pasta tubes to make jewellery
  • Using tongs to move small objects from one place to another
  • Using pegs to 'peg' things together
  • Finger painting (remember the key is the process, not the outcome.

How to form letters correctly.

It's important that children form letters correctly so that they can join easily in Year 2.   Please see the guide to where children start each letter below.  The dots indicate where the children should start the letter and the arrows show which direction they should go in.

Common Problems to look out for

 Children often get stuck on the letters with the c shape in them, e.g. a, d, g, e.  Make sure they start in the correct place and go in the right direction.  Another common error is the letter b, which children can write like the number six.   See above for the correct way.  Children can also get muddled with the letter p by starting at the bottom.  It's important that they start from the top.

Encourage children to add 'flicks' at the end of the letters below

Letter Confusions

Children often end up with letter confusions such as b and d or p and q.  This is usually to do with the way the letters are formed.  Here is a video explaining why this happens, with links on what you can do to help sort out the problem.

Letter confusion video