Handwriting is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for effective communication, creativity, and academic success. However, we understand that engaging students and young minds in traditional pen-and-paper exercises can sometimes prove challenging. That’s where the power of engaging students using technology comes into play.
By incorporating interactive whiteboards into your classroom, you can open up a world of possibilities for your students to master handwriting.
From interactive letter formation exercises to fun virtual writing games, your students will feel inspired to perfect their penmanship in no time.
In this blog, we explore how interactive whiteboards can revolutionise how we teach and reinforce handwriting skills at an early age.
How are children taught to write at school?
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In this stage, the focus is on developing basic pre-writing skills, such as mark-making, holding a pencil correctly, and understanding the connection between spoken and written language.
Studying phonics teaches children the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent. This systematic approach helps children decode words and lets them write using phonetic spelling.
Children learn to form letters correctly, starting with basic shapes and progressing to joined-up or cursive writing as they advance through primary school. Emphasis is placed on letter formation, size, spacing, and neatness to ensure their written work is legible.
Spelling and vocabulary
Children then learn to spell commonly used words, including high-frequency words and those relevant to their age and curriculum.
Composition and grammar
Children are encouraged to express themselves in writing through creative and informative essays. They learn essential grammar rules, sentence structure, and punctuation to enhance their writing skills and make them more coherent.
Writing genres and styles
As children advance through primary school, they are exposed to various writing genres and styles, such as narratives, reports, letters, poems, and persuasive texts. Teachers guide them on the conventions and characteristics of each genre and provide practice opportunities.
Editing and proofreading
Children are taught to review and edit their writing, focusing on improving clarity, grammar, and spelling errors. Students also review their peers’ work, so ensuring their handwriting is perfectly legible is important.
Reading and writing connection
Reading and writing are interconnected skills, and schools often integrate reading activities into writing lessons. Reading texts allows children to observe different writing styles and structures in their work.
Teachers regularly assess children’s writing skills to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement. These assessments can be formative (ongoing feedback) and summative (end-of-term or end-of-year evaluations).
How to use an interactive whiteboard for handwriting practice
Using an interactive whiteboard for handwriting practice can be an effective and engaging method to teach your young students. Here’s how to make the most of interactive displays for handwriting practice:
To practise letter formation
You can use an interactive whiteboard to help school children with correct letter formation by using the digital pen or touch functionality to show each stroke and direction of letter formation step-by-step.
Interactive whiteboards can also integrate audio and visual elements. For example, teachers can play phonetic sounds while demonstrating letter formation, catering to children with a visual learning style and auditory learning style.
To practise handwriting on a larger scale
An interactive whiteboard helps children practise handwriting on a larger scale by displaying enlarged letters and words. The whiteboard’s magnification feature allows children to observe precise letter formation more clearly from anywhere in your classroom.
The magnified display ensures clarity, and real-time corrections enable immediate feedback. This real-time demonstration can give your students a clear and dynamic representation of writing letters with proper strokes.
Interactive tracing activities also allow them to practise forming letters with larger hand movements, helping develop muscle memory. This larger-scale practice engages students, making handwriting lessons more enjoyable and engaging.
Developing motor skills
An interactive whiteboard can significantly aid the growth of children’s fine motor skills as they learn handwriting. Trying to stay within handwriting lines encourages students to use their fingers or digital pens, strengthening their hand muscles and improving fine motor control.
Also, when children write or trace on the interactive whiteboard, they must coordinate their hand movements with what they see on the screen. Hand-eye coordination enhances their ability to control their writing tools and form letters accurately.
The interactive nature of the board engages children, motivating them to practice more frequently, leading to enhanced fine motor skills essential for precise and fluent handwriting.
Handwriting games on an interactive whiteboard
Digital writing games transform traditional handwriting practice into an exciting and interactive experience. The element of play engages children, especially those with a kinaesthetic learning style, making the learning process enjoyable and fostering a positive attitude towards improving their handwriting skills.
Games on the interactive whiteboard capture children’s attention and motivation, encouraging active participation. When they are enthusiastic about the activity, students are more likely to invest time and effort in practising their handwriting, leading to better progress.
Also, games can teach children to participate more during class activities, especially when there’s friendly competition involved. Why not use the whiteboard to play games like Hangman or Word Races, where students take turns coming up to the board to write words or letters?
How can technology help children with their reading and writing?
Incorporating technologies like interactive whiteboards can be highly beneficial in helping children with their reading and writing skills in several ways.
Technology allows teachers to include audio, visual, and tactile elements in reading and writing activities. This multisensory approach appeals to the different learning styles of students in the classroom.
Interactive learning experience
Having technology in the classroom gives a dynamic and hands-on learning experience, captivating children’s attention and making the process of reading and writing more engaging and enjoyable.
Phonics and word recognition
Interactive whiteboards can be used to teach phonics and word recognition through interactive phonics games and activities. Children can participate in phonics drills, letter-sound matching exercises, and word-building games, reinforcing their reading and writing foundations.
Technology allows children to create digital stories with visuals, audio, and text. This enhances their writing skills and nurtures their creativity and storytelling abilities.
Interactive whiteboards promote collaborative learning. Children can work together on writing projects, edit each other’s work, and give constructive feedback, fostering communication and teamwork skills.
Inclusivity and accessibility
Technology can be adapted to accommodate various learning styles and needs, ensuring that all children can participate in reading and writing activities. This extends particularly to teaching children with learning difficulties, .
Digital libraries and e-books
Technology provides access to many digital libraries and e-books. Children can explore various reading materials, nurturing a love for reading and exposing them to diverse genres and topics.
Promethean interactive whiteboards
Interactive whiteboards in reading and writing instruction offer endless possibilities for engaging, enriching, and compelling learning experiences. These displays complement traditional teaching methods, enhance student motivation, and empower children to become confident readers and writers.
The Promethean ActivPanel allows teachers to appeal to every kind of learner in their classroom by making their lessons more interactive, immersive and fun for young minds.
The ActivPanel also features a screen-share functionality that lets you share work from the interactive whiteboard to an iPad, so you can give students a closer look at handwriting demonstrations given to the whole class and allow them to practise individually. This is especially helpful in engaging shy and quiet students.
Finally, our visual learning software can revolutionise the learning process for students with a visual learning style. There’s a range of platforms, websites, and apps designed to make classes interactive and informative for students that have to see information to absorb it, which is particularly common among young children learning to read and write.
Explore the Promethean blog for more guidance on using your interactive whiteboard to engage with different learning styles in the VARK model.
Here, you’ll find information on how to teach children with a reading and writing learning style, tips on engaging shy and quiet students, and more.