Helping Handwriting Shine
Helping Handwriting Shine focuses on improving crucial elements of fine motor skills in order to develop children’s handwriting fluency. In doing so, it aims to increase children’s capacity to develop writing composition, and to improve children’s writing attainment overall. Members of school staff are trained to deliver the programme to all Year 2 and selected Year 5 pupils.
The intervention programme was primarily designed by Dr Katy Shire and her supervision team during her PhD at the University of Leeds (2013-16). It consists of three 30-minute sessions per week for eight weeks, over Autumn 2018 - Spring 2019. Sessions include a selection of engaging activities and approaches to support children’s handwriting (from body position and pencil grip to letter formation and writing sentences). Training materials offer guidance on how sessions can be adapted to support pupil interest and motivation, and to mirror curriculum themes.
Helping Handwriting Shine is based on five Key Principles:
- Frequency of Practice - Children should receive at least 20 sessions (ideally 24 sessions) of the intervention during the 8 week period.
- Structure - Each session is comprised of three parts: Preparing for handwriting, a warm-up activity, and a handwriting activity.
- Variability of Practice - The fine motor skills required for handwriting need to be practiced in a variety of ways to enable generalisability.
- Metacognition - Each activity involves a Model-Plan-Evaluate structure (a 'thinking about thinking' approach) to facilitate the acquisition of the skills.
- Engaging with Support - The teaching staff have two avenues for support: Internally, a selected Senior Leader who will be able to help with school-based issues such as timetabling, and externally, two Postdoctoral Research Fellows who provide ongoing support throughout.
The intervention is being evaluated via a randomised controlled trial by the National Foundation for Educational Research and the project is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2020.
Excerpt of Intervention Manual
The intervention manual is currently under wraps while the evaluation is ongoing, but you can preview the first four pages of the manual below.