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Handwriting Problems in the Secondary School

Handwriting Problems in the Secondary School

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November 2006 | 96 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
A considerable proportion of pupils leave primary school unable to write well enough to deal with the demands of secondary school.

This innovative new book aims to help teachers and SENCOs to work alongside pupils to help them address their own difficulties. The book has three parts:

Part one explores the various issues which underpin any discussion of handwriting: letterforms; the pros and cons of handwriting models; how to help children write at speed; writing posture; pens and pen hold; left-handedness; talking to parents; and some of the common causes of handwriting problems.

Part two presents a series of examples of handwriting in photocopiable form, aimed principally at the pupils but with full teacher support, designed to show pupils a range of handwriting problems, helping them them to self-diagnose and work towards improvement. Each page offers practical tips and help for pupils with difficulties. All of the photocopiable material is also provided in electronic format on the companion website.

Part three sets out a diagnostic technique for teachers to follow, outlining three approaches to tackling handwriting problems: a quick, small-group assessment; providing one-to-one help; and working with a whole class. Each approach is outlined in detail, offering advice on effective observation, procedures to follow in giving appropriate practical help to pupils, and how to assess progress. Part three also offers guidelines for designing checklists, and the role of surveys and research.

Authoritative, wide-ranging and full of practical help, this book will be particularly useful for secondary teachers, secondary SENCOs and teaching support staff.

Rosemary Sassoon is an independent consultant and lecturer, based in Sevenoaks, Kent. She is the author of Handwriting: The Way to Teach it, Paul Chapman Publishing, 2003.

Issues in Letterforms

Height Differentials

Two Sets of Letters

Word and Letter Spacing

Other Factors

Handwriting Models


A Balanced View of Joining

Issues in Writing Posture
School Furniture and Posture

Pens and Pen Hold

Understanding Left-Handedness



Other Issues

Talking To Parents

Severe Problems Ignored or Misdiagnosed

Handwriting in a Multicultural Context

So You Are Having Trouble with Your Handwriting
This Is How You Can Start
Before You Even Start To Write
What to Do About It and Why
Pen Holds
Hand Positions
Unconventional Pen Holds - Left Handers
Unconventional Pen Holds - Right Handers
Your Hand and You're Writing Position
Paper Position Affects How You Sit and Write
Relax and Your Handwriting Will Improve
Relaxing Scribbles
Practical Tips for Left Handers
Handwriting Is a Pattern
If The Pattern Is Wrong...
Alternatives and Other Families
If The Letter Heights Are Wrong
12 Rules of Legibility
Why and When To Join Up
Start Joining In Easy Stages
Top Joins Are Great Time Savers
Repairing Bad Joins and Crossbar Joins
Joins To the Round Group of Letters
Looping At Speed and Fast Personal Joins
Letters and Joins for Left Handers
How Far Can You Go With Letters?
Fast Writing and Slow Writing
Your Slant, His Slant, No Slant
How Much Space Is Enough?
Spiky Letters or Round Letters
Mixed-Up Models
Some Letters Are Too Round
Large Writing and Small Writing
Spot Your Own Mistakes
Unevenly Sized Letters
Where Does One Letter End And The Next Begin?
Are Your Ascenders Too Long Or Too Short?
Are Your Descenders Causing Confusion?
Dealing with Descenders
Are You Leaving Strokes Out?
More Missing Strokes
Exit but Not Entry Strokes
Exit Strokes: A Recipe for Disaster
Capital Letters: Last But Not Least
Three Approaches to Handwriting Problems
Using the Three Approaches
Stage 1: Observation
Postural Problems

Letter Problems



Stage 2: Procedure
Procedure for Dealing with Posture

Procedure for Dealing with Letters


Group Therapy

Stage 3: Assessment
Assessment of Improvement

Guidelines for Designing Checksheets

Using Checksheets

Checksheets for Pupils


The Role of Surveys and Research


'This excellent new text from the handwriting specialist Rosemary Sassoon will be of great interest to secondary school SENCOs and a range of other staff supporting children who are experiencing difficulties with handwriting' - SENCO Update

Sample Materials & Chapters

Section One PDF

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This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.