School year > Subject guides > Handwriting in Year 1

Handwriting in Year 1 / P2
(age 5–6)

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

The National Curriculum in England

In England, the National Curriculum requires that children in Year 1 are taught to:

  • sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly
  • form lowercase letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the
    right place
  • form capital letters
  • form digits 0–9
  • understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways)
  • leave spaces between words.

Scottish Curriculum for Excellence

In Scotland, most children aged 5–6 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.
Year 1 children are able to:

  • form uppercase and lowercase letters that are usually clearly shaped and
    correctly orientated.

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 2 / P3 >

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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Handwriting Age 5–6

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.
Buy on Amazon >

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