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Writing is an important life skill that we develop over the child’s time at Woodfield.  We have created this page to help parents to support their child to make progress.  If you have any specific question about writing and how best to support your child, please speak to your child’s class teacher or Mr Booth, our English Leader.


To support good writing over time, young children must have lots of experiences at a range of other skills that build muscle control and coordination.

Scudding a scooter, riding a bike, balancing on a beam, then early activities like playdough and painting all support a child's skills in preparing them for mastering and controlling mark making tools and pencils.

There are also 4 key stages of pencil grip which children will practise before they hold their pencil correctly and use it to control the writing of letter shapes.

This section shows the different stages of pre-writing and mark making we support at nursery. We call this emergent writing.

Early mark making (PHOTO)

Early mark making starts with muscle development in the hands and arms. Activities like playdough, threading, pegboards, puzzles, painting and drawing are good for developing those skills that are needed to hold a pencil and begin early mark making.

Drawing (PHOTO)

Children draw or scribble pictures, moving the mark maker to create marks. These marks are often made using the whole arm from the shoulder. This is all about the movement and its effect on paper rather than the end product made. This can be about the 'feel' of it, not the outcome.

Random scribbling (PHOTO)
Children make and give meaning to marks. They begin to talk about their marks and they have meaning for them, even if an adult cannot tell what they are intended to be!

Controlled Scribbling (PHOTO)
Children scribble in rows across a page, left to right, top to bottom and give meaning to the lines of their writing. They often use this 'pretend' writing in their role play and for them, it has meaning.

Letter-like forms (PHOTO)
Children use unconventional letter forms and familiar symbols, such as circles, but still give meaning to marks. These can look like early letters but are often randomly placed on the page.

Random letters (PHOTO)
Children begin to use random letter shapes to convey meaning. These letters may not be linked to the sounds in words and often have links to the letters that they are most familiar with, such as the letters in their name. Children sometimes use a mix of capital and lower case letter forms.

Name writing (PHOTO)

As children become more skilled and controlled with their pencil, a first step is supporting a child to write the letters of their name. At nursery and school, we use name cards. Children are taught to work from left to right, where to start each letter and how to form each letter correctly. The correct formation is taught from the beginning so that they don't have to re-learn the skill. At Woodfield, we teach children using a cursive style of letter formation. Research shows that early cursive letter formation is better for children when they learn to join their writing in later year groups.

Pencil grip (PHOTO)

There are 4 basic stages of pencil grip, these are developmental and children will naturally go through the stages. When working with an adult, pencil grip can be supported to give them the idea of using the correct pencil grip and becoming comfortable with this from early on.

 Pencil grip Stages

  • grasp grip
  • palm down digital grip
  • 4 finger grip
  • tripod grip
Foundation & Year 1

As the children move into Foundation the children start to learn and practice how to form all the letters.  We use a cursive script from the beginning to help the children to practise joining up their handwriting.  

The children also learn to write simple words and phrases before being able to write simple sentences.  We have a range of writing characters to remind the children of the key skills they need to use. 

Please look at these resources to help you to help your child


Handwriting – Spellings – Toolkits – Examples

Year 2 and Year 3

As the children move into Year 2 and Year 3 their writing will become more fluent and they will begin to learn more skills and tools to make their writing more interesting for the reader.  They will also start to write longer, more sustained pieces of writing linked to a genre that they are studying, e.g. historical fiction (Year 3).   The writing process is three steps: analysis of existing, high quality texts; a collaborative recreation of an existing text, changing certain elements (character, location etc) and, finally, an independent write, that uses the studied grammar and features of the chosen genre. 

Alongside the writing process, children are immersed in the genre that they are studying through carefully chosen whole class texts (read daily), visiting authors and trips to relevant locations, and guided reading sessions that use texts from the writing genre to expose them to quality examples. 

The teachers have put together some useful resources that can help your child when writing at home.  If you have any questions, please speak to your child’s class teacher.


Handwriting – Spellings – Toolkits – Examples

Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6

Beginning their writing journey with reflection  back to their learning in the previous year, children are assisted to close gaps in their grammatical knowledge to ensure that the content of their current year group is built upon a solid understanding of the mechanics of composition. This reflection is informed by the previous teacher's assessment and the evidence within children's books. Once this period of consolidation is completed, children begin their unit of writing, which is based around a three-stage model: analyse the genre, recreate elements of the genre in a collaborative approach and, finally, independently apply the learnt skills.

Children are immersed within each unit by a carefully chosen whole class text (read to them daily), linked guided reading sessions (focusing upon key comprehension skills), opportunities to experience visiting authors/events or to attend local areas of interest, that will support their writing outcomes and relevant grammar lessons at the beginning of each week. Of course, spelling is also taught daily as a stand-alone lesson (using the Read Write Inc programme of which they are familiar) alongside regular one-to-one checks, and as part of their weekly homework. 

Furthermore, the skills of editing and revising their own writing are taught throughout each unit so that the children become confident and able self-editors, who can use classroom resources to amend and improve their writing, including working walls, help mats, thesauruses and dictionaries. This process builds in key oracy skills and collaborative learning as each child is unique and needs different methods to express ideas and see beyond their own experiences.  

Handwriting – Spellings – Toolkits – Examples