Introducing Writing

“While accurate letter formation should be taught alongside sounds for reading, it is important that pupils who are not developmentally ready should not have formal handwriting instruction until later in the session. While January is the latest start point for this, it is likely that practitioners will begin letter formation sometime around October. Some pupils may be ready to write earlier in the session, in which case this can be encouraged by having well-equipped writing areas in class and many informal opportunities for writing in various contexts. ”

In Port Charlotte, opportunities to write are around the classroom

“At no stage should a pupil be held back from writing if they have the mechanical skills to engage successfully with it. Opportunities need to be created for children to write within their own contexts but it is important that teachers do not just assume they will take these. Children can be guided through discussion and modelling to take the opportunities that are there. However, a continued refusal to write at this stage should not lead to situations where children feel forced to write.”

Fun ideas for pre-writing letter formation

  • Children walk round chalked letters in the direction they’re written
  • Large black letters made to look like a road – children drive toy cars around in the correct direction for letter formation
  • Sticks and dirt
  • Children ‘erase’ chalk letters by tracing them with a wet paintbrush


Children can choose to write in a context they have decided

It is important thart children develop their pre-handwriting skills in P1. For more information, please see under the foundation skills drop down menu.

The Northern Alliance document- teaching handwriting, foundations & building blocks – is very useful and can be found here.

When pupils are ready to write

This guidance from the Northern Alliance can support your understanding of teaching formal letter formation:

teaching letter formation guidance

grapheme guidance