Handwriting Instruction – A step-by-step approach

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Steps to Handwriting 
(Work on 1 step at a time!)

Written by: Holly Haggerty

1. Holding the pencil correctly – see video below for demonstration

2. Controlling the pencil – tracing and dot to dots are great for this and fun too!

3. Forming the letters – i.e. R not Я

4. Writing letters with uniform letter size – i.e. “dog” not “dog”

5. Writing with uniform slant – i.e. “dog” not “dog”

More on Forming the Letters

• Letters are made up of short and tall lines, circles, hooks, and slants. Allow kids to practice less complex letters (like lowercase i) before asking them to write more complex letters (like uppercase K).

• Use correctly lined paper that includes letters for the kids to trace before writing them on their own.

• Make sure your child knows where to start the letter – i.e. letters start from the top and go down. If the letter O were the face of a clock, make sure your student knows to start making the letter at 2 o’clock not 6 o’clock.

• Watch your child while he is writing so you can make corrections right away.

Suggested order of introduction

Group 1 (includes slanted lines)

l i O o J j \ /

Group 2 (All of these letters start in the same place – at the top line)

L, l, B, b, D, E, F, H, h, I, K, k, M, N, P, R, T, t

Group 3

J, U, V, W, X, Y, Z (All of these letters start in the same place – at the top line)

Group 4

o, a, d, g, c, q, s (all of these letters start at 2 o’clock below the middle line)

Group 5

O, C, G, Q, S, f (all of these letters start at 2 o’clock below the top line)

Group 6

r, n, m. p, j, u, v, w, x, y, z (all of these letters start at the middle line)

Last letter (the oddball)


Reward and Praise!

After practicing a line of letters, ask your student to pick out the three best and write a star over them! Learning to write is hard work so focus on the victories!

Additional Resources

You can get specially sized and shaped pencils to help kids learn to grip the pencil if needed. Here is a link to a site that sells pencils like the one in the video:

Here is a link to an extended write up on teaching handwriting:

Stay tuned for more articles on handwriting.