School year > Subject guides > Handwriting in Reception

Handwriting in Reception / P1
(age 4–5)

Handwriting in Reception Handwriting in Year 1 Handwriting in Year 2 Handwriting in Years 3 and 4 Handwriting in Years 5 and 6

For ideas to support your child’s handwriting development at home, take a look at our handwriting at home pages.

Handwriting in the curriculum

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

In England, the Statutory Framework for the EYFS requires that by the end of Reception children should:

  • show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements
  • move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space
  • handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing
  • use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds
  • write some irregular common words
  • write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

Scottish Curriculum for Excellence

In Scotland, children aged 4–5 will be working towards the following early level experiences and outcomes:

  • I explore sounds, letters and words, discovering how they work together, and I can use what I learn to help me as I read or write. (ENG 0-12a / LIT 0-13a / LIT 0-21a)
  • As I play and learn, I enjoy exploring interesting materials for writing and different ways of recording my experiences and feelings, ideas and information. (LIT 0-21b)

Teachers and practitioners will be supporting children as they learn to:

  • form most lowercase letters legibly
  • use a pencil with increasing control and confidence
  • know the sounds of lowercase and some uppercase letters
  • leave a space between words when writing
  • write words from left to right
  • make an attempt to spell familiar words correctly
  • make an attempt to use a capital letter and a full stop in at least one sentence.

Foundation Phase Framework and the Programme of Study for Wales

The list below provides a summary of the expectations set out in the Foundation Phase Framework and the Programme of Study for Wales, with regards to handwriting.
Reception children are able to:

  • hold writing instruments appropriately
  • write from left to right
  • discriminate between letters.

Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum

In summary, the expectations set out in the Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum, with regards to handwriting, require that by the end of the Foundation Stage the majority of children will be able to use a pencil and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

Handwriting in Year 1 / P2 >

Handwriting at home >

Handwriting books

Nelson Handwriting books 1–6

The Nelson Handwriting programme supports handwriting skills throughout primary school. If your child’s school is using Nelson Handwriting, you can use these books at home to help them practise their handwriting skills.
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Starting to Write Letters Age 4–5

This activity book will help your child to progress while having fun so they will quickly learn to develop pencil control and the correct letter formation.
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At Home With Handwriting 1

This fun activity workbook for 5–7-year-olds supports children as they learn how to establish a comfortable and efficient pencil grip, how to write correctly formed letters, and how to leave appropriate gaps between words. Includes lots of useful tips for parents.
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At Home With Handwriting 2

This fun activity workbook for 5–7-year-olds includes illustrated step-by-step activities that are simple enough for children to work through on their own, or equally perfect to do with a parent.
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Subject guides