Extending Calligraphy Lessons Beyond Elementary School

Working to improve your writing can also help high school students improve their reading and writing skills. I teach high school students and have complained, both privately and quietly and loudly at department meetings, about how many of the students entering sixth grade had poorly formed letters.

It was always hard for me to read his work, and I didn’t know how to help my students correct their handwriting. And then, my son joined my grade level, the pandemic hit, and I finished a short course on teaching lessons using evidence-based practices. I decided to do a very informal study on how switching to italics can help students who struggle with print, using a not-so-willing subject, my son.

Calligraphy has generally been in the hands of preschool and elementary school teachers. At that time, I decided to be a father and help my son improve his handwriting, but I had no idea how to do it. After much research looking for a solution, I realized that I was not alone.

Researchers like Steve Graham have recognized the need for teachers to be equipped with the skills to teach handwriting. They have suggested that schools and teachers adopt whole-school approaches and language in this area of ​​instruction to ensure successful outcomes.

I had long suspected that my son was struggling with dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects a student’s writing ability. He needed to step in and figure out how to help him. In my research, I noticed a trend to provide cursive as an alternative for students who struggle with handwriting. Although there is no conclusive data on whether print or cursive is better for children with handwriting difficulties, many articles suggest cursive as an intervention. So I taught him cursively.

I couldn’t believe the difference. My son was very proud of his handwriting after years of trying to muddle through and read his handwriting to frustrated teachers. He took a week of practice to see the change. He wanted to bring this to my students and my department so that we could replicate it for all of our students. Once we get back to campus, we begin reviewing our calligraphy program.

Also check our school drawing

The Importance of Calligraphy.

Time and again, leading education experts have highlighted the importance of handwriting in literacy:

  • It automates the formation of letters and words, which allows the writer to write faster and, therefore, more, and lightens the cognitive load.
  • Revs the effect of reading and writing skills.
  • It allows a more regular presentation of the work.
  • Helps build memory.

How do we build calligraphy? Bothering near the “muscle matters” of script activity.

Pressure Points

Pencil Grip:

Writers need mental space to write down ideas; they should not use their working memory to remember how to correctly hold the pen or pencil so they can write more quickly. It is challenging to help students correct this at a later stage, so laying a good foundation is vital.

The development of fine motor skills and the practice of exercises are two essential components that play an important role in helping the child to hold the pencil correctly when she writes. Young writers should be explicitly taught to hold the pencil correctly with the traditional triangle grip with some leeway in personal comfort level.


Appropriate pressure must be applied to the writing instrument and the paper. Not too loose, or the strokes won’t be well-formed, and not too tight, or it will result in fatigue.

Paper Grip: 

To support the pencil grip and pressure on the writing implements, the writer should also grip the paper with their non-dominant hand. The paper should be slightly angled in your non-dominant direction.

Stroke Formation: 

Closing the precision loop, students must explicitly learn how to form their letters. Although there may be slightly different ways of writing block and cursive, the main strokes are similar. All t’s originate from just below the top line, and all j’s dip slightly below the baseline. These details should be reinforced for ancienter students.

I learned that projecting lined paper on the screen while showing and explaining the strokes of each letter is a very effective strategy. There are a few curricular options for letter formation. I am in favor of

What Makes a Good Letter?

Students need to become fluent in writing letters and words to free their minds from the cognitive load of thinking about how to write the words and sentences for the story or essay they want to write. But, how is the “good letter”? Instructors Melissa Bracken and Pam Buchanan suggest four components:

  • Formed letters,
  • Letters placed on the line,
  • Even letter spacing, and
  • Including the space between words.

With the model of good handwriting in mind as we work toward handwriting fluency, teachers at our school are reinvigorating their skills in teaching handwriting as we work on our students’ reading skills.

Good writing promotes more complex reading and writing skills. Familiarity with letters and their formation strengthens our mental model of how words work, supporting our young readers’ reading fluency. Strong handwriting skills also allow more structured and creative writing activities, such as organizing ideas and using different literary elements.

Write the Way Forward.

We now set aside 30 minutes weekly for explicit handwriting instruction, focusing on pressure points to improve handwriting. Students in grades one through six receive intensive handwriting instruction in print. Eventually, italics will be phased in for students in grades three through six. This is supplemente by daily reminders as our students complete their writing assignments. With research in our hands and minds. I hope we can bolster literacy skills in all areas with this much-needed adjustment.

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