Primary School Handwriting Essentials

Despite the use of digital devices amongst children, handwriting is still an essential skill for pupils to learn in primary school and one that they will use for the rest of their lives. With National Stationery Week (29th April – 5th May) quickly approaching, what better time to celebrate the educational supplies that have become handwriting essentials, along with the activities that are integral to children learning how to properly write.

Pre-Writing Activities

Before children even reach the stage where they begin learning how to write, they must build up a foundation of skills that will help them master this essential life skill. Pre-writing activities serve the purpose of building up the fine motor skills necessary to control a pencil and familiarising them with the concept of letter formation by first introducing them to pattern tracing activities. 

The first stage of pre-writing activities should be based around arts and crafts as these require the same hand-eye coordination and motor skills that will later be used for writing. Children also improve their grip strength by using art supplies, which is also essential for handwriting in order to create legible writing. 

Sensory play and writing readiness activities are also an essential part of the pre-writing stage, as both types of activities are aimed at developing the hand muscles and increasing dexterity. 

The final stage in pre-writing activities is the introduction letter formation resources and activities where children start by forming basic shapes that will eventually progress into them learning how to trace and form letters.  

Handwriting Tools 

Having the right tools at hand is essential for supporting children as they learn how to write, ensuring that they do so in a productive and encouraging way. There are a number of different tools which can be considered handwriting essentials. 

A staple during the stage where primary school pupils begin mastering handwriting is the pencil grip. This handy tool makes it far easier for children to grasp a pencil by adding bulk to its slim frame and encourages proper positioning and grasp when writing.

Letter formation boards also form part of the essential toolkit for learning how to write. While lined paper provides guidance once children already feel confident in their letter formation skills, letter formation boards allow them to practice how to properly write both upper and lower case characters in the correct manner.

Other essential handwriting tools that no primary school classroom should be without are cursive letter formation boards, dry wipe boards, wipe-clean sentence strips, sentence strips, and flashcards.   

Handwriting Activities

Cursive letter formation

Show and tell activities which guarantee that young learners are remembering the correct way to form each letter and can associate the right sound with the right letter 


It’s not just tools that play a part in how children learn to write in primary school. Handwriting activities are an important part of the process as they help all students to practice and develop this newly-learned skill until it becomes a natural part of their lives. 

In order to remove a lot of the frustration that children often experience when learning how to write, it’s important that you are able to offer them a range of handwriting activities that will not only develop their skills but also engage them. 

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