I ask teachers to set their children some free writing across the school - and then observe how the children actually 'write'.When my son was in Reception, my wife and I were concerned about his letter formation. We told the teacher about it. She assured us it would be alright – he’s a boy after all – he just needed some time. She gave us some photocopied sheets of letters to practice at home .
When my son was in Year 1 we were concerned about his handwriting. We told the teacher about it. She told us that it was early days and he just needed some work on his hand strength and motor control.
When my son was in Year 2 we were concerned about his handwriting. We told his teachers. They told us there was still time. The important thing was getting him to write in sentences for his SATs. He was assessed at level 2B in writing, despite being level 3 in everything else. His handwriting had held him back apparently.
How do they hold their pencils or pens?
How do they 'sit' at their desks?
Do they angle their paper for maximum comfort?
Do they write below their words or hook their wrists around and write from above the words?
Are their desks the right size for them all?
And so on.
It often generates some surprises - habits that teachers have not noticed until someone suggests they observe these aspects of 'writing' specifically.