I recently decided we needed to try some handwriting practice books with my youngest – he knows his letters but to be honest his writing is just not the best and I often battle to tell the difference between his o and his a and his tall letters are not really tall. Handwriting is not something he naturally “enjoys” working at – give him engineering anything and you have his undivided attention. But he agreed with me that in order to design planes (his latest passion) he would need to be able to write out instructions, label parts etc and that his team working for him (love that he is already planning on having a team of people who are going to build his planes) would need to be able to read his writing – and yes yes I know computers – but I am adamant that my kids need to develop decent handwriting. So I turned to my daughter’s favourite educational publishers – Schofield & Sims and I found 2 handwriting workbooks aimed at Key Stage 1 ages. (They do also have a range of writing books for younger kids – two of which we actually used with my daughter when she was younger and she was very happy with them).
Schofield & Sims kindly sent me both of the Handwriting Practice books for us to try so this is what we think of them. My youngest has been testing out the Handwriting Practice 1 book and my oldest tried a few of the exercises in the Handwriting Practice 2 Book as a revision activity.
Handwriting Practice 1 Book – this is what I term normal writing ie NOT joined up writing.
It starts off with pages revising how you form your letters (they group them into 3 letters onto a page) and then some basic words at the bottom of the page.
If you are looking for more individual practice for each letter then the younger handwriting books are better suited.
After that it goes onto copying out phrases and some Capital Letter Practice (Capital letters are 2 pages). A focus on taller letters and letters with tails – we liked this as it is one of the areas my son needs to work on. And lots more copying out of rhymes, menus, a poem and postcard etc.
For my son this was just right. He already knows the basics but he needs to practice making his letters a big neater and he needs to practice distinguishing better the size of the different letters. The book is 32 pages long of which 28 pages are practice pages.
Just to mention – the size of the letters was perfect for my son to practice but about a year ago (just before he turned 6) his letters would have been much too big for the lines and the space provided.
Handwriting Practice 2 – joined up writing
Similar format as the first handwriting practice book but this time it is joined up writing (cursive). Starts off by focusing on joining up two letters and then some basic word practice beneath (12 pages in this format).
Then it moves onto longer words and phrases.
Capital Letters are covered in 2 pages but then the kids also practice capital letters when they are copying out the phrases throughout the book.
Practice on adding some trickier letters like r and s onto words and more copying practice. Book 2 is 48 pages long of which 44 pages are practice pages.
We only used this for practicing but I think you could also use this for teaching joined up writing (I am keeping the practice 2 book for my son to use when he learns joined up writing – after seeing his sister doing joined up letters he now also wants to learn).
We like the way Schofield & Sims set their workbooks out, they never clutter the pages or try to cram too much onto one page and they always introduce everything in gradual steps. The Handwriting Practice books have stuck to this and we have found both very useful for practicing handwriting.
The Books I mentioned in the post are these one
Also the Early writing books that I used with my daughter years ago were
As I mentioned above Schofield & Sims sent us both handwriting books after I requested them for review.
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