Kinetic Letters® is a handwriting programme for use in primary and secondary schools.
Using the four main threads of Making bodies stronger, Learning the letters, Holding the pencil, and Flow and fluency, it enables children to develop legible handwriting that is produced quickly and automatically. With the development of automaticity, handwriting becomes a valuable tool and not a hindrance to learning.
To begin with, we focus on developing body strength, starting with the children’s core, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers. We also teach the correct pencil grip and in our Kinetic Letters lessons, we focus on letter formation.
The underlying principles of Kinetic Letters
- Building physical strength underpins handwriting, as poor writing may be due to poor strength.
- Children are not expected to do anything before they are developmentally ready for it.
- The different components of writing are mastered individually before being used in combination.
- Letters are learnt as movements not as visual shapes and movement remains central to developing flow and accuracy.
- When handwriting is automatic, the brain can concentrate on content.
- Reading and writing are reciprocal processes and so strengthening handwriting skills will support reading and writing development as a whole.
Supporting your child at home
In the Foundation Stage, we do some of our writing lying on our tummies or resting on our elbows with our legs out straight. We call this our lizard position. There are lots of things you can do to develop the strength in your child’s shoulders. You could do this by going on the monkey bars at the park, doing chair push-ups or doing the plank.
To make our ‘three friends’ (thumb and first two fingers on our writing hand) really strong we have been doing lots of pinching and squeezing activities using rubber bands, pegs, play dough, foam shapes, tweezers and threading activities.
The children hear stories about Brave Monkey and Scared Monkey, who help them to know where to start their letters. We also use a special tree to give the children a prompt to remember this.
Ask your child about Brave and Scared Monkey to find out more.
The 'Jumper Family' all start with a down movement and then back up and over.
r, p, n and m start at Scared Monkey.
h and b start from Brave Monkey
The 'Abracadabra Family' all start with a ‘c’ shape before going ‘up like a helicopter’ and back down.
c, o, a, g, q and s start at Scared Monkey
d goes 'up like a helicopter' to Brave Monkey.
The 'Window Cleaner Family' come straight down,
l and t start from Brave Monkey.
i and u start from Scared Monkey.
The ‘Special Squirter’ starts with a push across and then round: e
The 'Fisher Family' start at Scared Monkey and their tails go down into the flooded pit underneath the line: y, g, f, j
The 'Slider Family' all contain diagonal strokes
v, w, x, z start at Scared Monkey.
k starts from Brave Monkey.