Navigating handwriting hurdles

navigating handwriting

by Zunera Siddiqui

Do you feel as if your child’s pencil seems to have a mind of its own? Do your kids have difficulty writing the alphabet correctly? Do they face trouble gripping the pencil properly?

It is possible that your child, like many others of their age, is facing some very common hiccups on their handwriting journey. 

It can be argued that handwriting is a child’s gateway into the wonderful world of learning. Long before they learn the meanings of words, children start by learning how to write. Step by step, they master the flicks and strokes of the alphabet—making the round curve for the letter ‘C’ or the straight lines for the letter ‘E’.

But it is not always an easy task—like with all new things a growing child is learning, perfecting their handwriting can seem quite the daunting task in the beginning. However, it is crucial that at this early stage, a child is able to grasp the basics of proper letter formation. Research indicates that for young learners, handwriting is connected to academic achievement. The sooner a child is able to perfect their handwriting, the more their literacy skills will improve.

Some common handwriting problems

‘’My child’s handwriting is too unevenly spaced!’’

When we look at the handwriting of very young children, we can see that sometimes all letters in a word are squashed together in an illegible heap, or that sometimes the letters seem to be running right off the page! Letter spacing is often a tricky task—children are unable to determine how much space there should be in between letters, and even words.

Expert tip: To address this problem, parents and teachers can look towards handwriting resources that offer four-line notebooks with ample tracing practice. This will help them learn correct letter and word spacing.

‘’My child’s handwriting has different shapes and sizes!’’

As children begin their handwriting journey, it is common to see them writing letters of different shapes and sizes. You can expect to see capital letters strewn in with lowercase letters, or letters of different heights and sizes. It is also common for children to be confused between letters that are similarly shaped, e.g., lowercase a, e, and o.

Expert tip: The more children practice their handwriting, the more muscle memory they build in their hands. Look for handwriting resources that provide visible starting points of letters, along with instructions for making letter strokes.

 ‘’My child has trouble gripping their pencil!’’

The way most of us hold our pens when writing is known as the ‘’tripod grip’’—where we use the thumb, index, and middle finger to properly hold the pen. Since young learners are still new to writing, they will face difficulty in holding their pencils or crayons. Sometimes the pencil may keep slipping out of their hands.

Expert tip: Make sure that children are using handwriting resources that start them off with pre-writing patterns in the earlier grades. You can also look for resources that offer pre-writing hand exercises to develop fine motor skills.  

It is important to understand that all children have a unique style of handwriting. These problems are quite common and improve with time. The more children practice, the more legible and neater their handwriting will become. Parents and teachers can make use of the variety of early years handwriting resources available in the market.  

In a world where good handwriting is often overlooked, it’s crucial to utilize resources rooted in research-based practice. Handwriting not only impacts early literacy and fine motor skills but also lays the foundation for learning. Rather than relying on self-created materials that lack proper learning methodologies, it’s advisable to opt for resources from reputable publishers. These materials are developed using recognized methodologies and informed by research, ensuring effective instruction and support for young learners.

Invest in your child’s handwriting journey today for a better and brighter tomorrow!  

For exploring resources for Handwriting Skills developed on best practices and research-based evidence, click on the link below.

Zunera Siddique has worked as a content developer, teacher trainer and editor in the field of English language education. She has helped develop English textbooks and learning materials for children. She has a Masters in English Literature. With an expertise in creative writing and blogging, she has helped children develop their English language skills. She can be reached at

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